Baseball and fireworks have become a big Charlotte tradition on Independence Day, and the Charlotte Knights have announced that fans will have two opportunities to celebrate the holiday this year.
The Knights already were scheduled to play July 4 at BB&T Ballpark against the Durham Bulls, with a postgame fireworks show.
But now a game has been added – with fireworks – for July 3. The Knights will be in Norfolk that evening, but BB& Ballpark will host a game between Team USA and Team Japan. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m.
Team USA leads the series, which features top collegiate players, 23-18. But the U.S. team is 20-1 when facing Japan on home turf.
Tickets are on sale for the game.
Otherwise, the Knights went 3-4 during the past week and closed out a brief homestand Sunday. Here’s how the past week went:
Monday: The day started with outfielder Mason Robbins called up from Class AA Birmingham. Robbins was batting .350 with the Barons. On the field, the Knights beatthe Gwinnett Stripers 5-4. First baseman Matt Skole had three hits, and left-handed pitcher Matt Tomshaw improved his record to 2-0 since being called up from Birmingham on April 23.
Tuesday: Charlotte starter Donny Roach (3-2, 4.46 ERA) was clobbered in an 8-1 loss to the Stripers. Roach gave up 10 hits and seven runs in 3.1 innings.
Wednesday: The Knights, behind the pitching of right-handed starter Dylan Covey, downed Gwinnett 4-1. Covey went 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and one run.
Thursday: The Stripers finished the series with a 7-1 victory over Charlotte. The Stripers scored five times in the bottom of the sixth off starter T.J. House and reliever Colton Turner. Charlotte’s Patrick Leonard homered.
Friday: Before the seventh BB&T Ballpark sellout of the season (10,589), the Knights lost 12-2 to Durham. Highly regarded prospect Michael Kopech suffered his first rough outing of the season, charged with seven runs in the fourth inning. Skole continued his hot month of May for Charlotte, hitting a home run. Through Sunday’s game, Skole is hitting .326 (14-for- 43).
Saturday: The eighth sellout crowd of the season saw another lopsided loss to Durham – 10-3. Charlotte’s Casey Gillaspie had three hits and two RBI, and Tomshaw took the loss, giving up seven runs in 5.1 innings. It was the 13 th annual Pink Knights game, with the Knights raising $27,587 for the Carolinas Breast Cancer Fund.
Sunday: The Knights closed the series and homestand by beating Durham 3-2. Charlotte won in the bottom of the ninth, when Jake Elmore singled, moved to third on an error, and scored on a passed ball. Roach went six innings and surrendered just one run.
Week ahead: Charlotte is off Monday, then heads to Ohio. The Knights play in Toledo (6:35 p.m. Tuesday, 10:35 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday) and then in Columbus (7:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:05 p.m. Sunday).
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle