Chris Curley’s RBI triple in the top of the seventh inning broke a 1-all tie and helped lead the Charlotte Knights to a 4-2 win over the Gwinnett Braves on Saturday in the opening game of their three-game series at Coolray Field.
Charlotte starter Hector Noesi allowed just one run over six innings to earn the win. Noesi (4-4, 3.32) notched his third consecutive victory and has allowed just two runs over his three-game win-streak (19.0 innings pitched). He gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out four batters.
The Knights scored first and did so in the top of the second inning on a Drew Garcia RBI single off Gwinnett starter Greg Smith (6-7, 2.63), who was charged with the loss. Smith allowed all four of Charlotte’s runs in the opener.
Gwinnett came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third inning on a sacrifice fly RBI from Joey Terdoslavich, which scored Mycal Jones. Both starters settled in after that and the game remained tied at 1-1 until the seventh inning.
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In the top of the seventh frame, a one-out double from Kevan Smith ignited the Charlotte offense. Two batters later, Curley drove Smith home with his first triple of the season. Ethan Wilson, who won the 2015 Charlotte Knights Community Award on Friday, followed with an RBI single to push the Knights lead to 3-1. That was all for Gwinnett’s starter (Smith), who was pulled in favor of Hunter Cervenka.
Jason Coats was the first batter Cervenka faced in the seventh inning and he added to his team’s lead. Coats reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Jordan Lennerton, which allowed Wilson to score the third run of the inning. Charlotte held a 4-1 lead at that point.
In the bottom of the seventh, Knights reliever Onelki Garcia allowed an RBI single to Jose Yepez, which cut the lead in half, 4-2. Still, the Knights were able to hold on for their 74th win and manager Joel Skinner’s 285th of his Knights career. Reliever Junior Guerra tossed a perfect ninth inning to record his seventh save of the season.
The teams continue their series Sunday at 2:05 p.m. (730 AM). Righty Kyle Drabek will start for the Knights against Gwinnett right-hander Victor Mateo.