Blanco had a two-run homer in the loss. (Bernie Connelly/Gwinnett Stripers)
CHARLOTTE, NC. – The Charlotte Knights (32-25) broke a tie game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth and held off the Gwinnett Stripers (34-25), 6-5 Wednesday night in the final of the three game series at BB&T Ballpark. The Stripers hit two more homers, one by Luis Marte, the other by Andres Blanco.
Scoring Recap: The Knights took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second as former Georgia Tech star Matt Skole (16) hit a solo homer to center off Gwinnett starting pitcher Bryse Wilson. The Stripers tied the game in the top of the third as Marte (3) led off the inning with a solo shot off Charlotte starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne. Charlotte grabbed the lead right back on a two out, two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth by Alcides Escobar to make it 3-1. However, a two-run homer in the top of the seventh by Blanco (10) tied the game at three. In the bottom of the eighth, Stripers reliever A.J. Minter gave up a solo homer to Skole (17) and a two-run homer to Seby Zavala (7) to put the Stripers in a 6-3 hole heading to the ninth. In the top of the ninth, Sean Kazmar Jr. led off with a single and scored on a triple to right by Pedro Florimon. Florimon then scored right behind Kazmar Jr. as the cut-off throw ended up in the Gwinnett dugout. With the Knights leading 6-5, Carson Fulmer struck out the next three batters in succession to nail down the win.
Stripers Stats: Wilson worked 6.0 innings with six hits and three earned runs for this second straight quality start. He struck out seven. Chad Sobotka pitched a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts. Minter (L, 0-1) worked the bottom of the eighth with three hits, three earned runs and one strikeout. At the plate, Kazmar Jr. was 2-for-4 with a run. Blanco was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.
Knights Stats: Despaigne tossed 6.0 innings with four hits and one earned run. Caleb Frare (BS, 2) went 1.0 inning with one hit and two earned runs. Fulmer (W, 1-0) pitched the final 2.0 innings with two hits, two runs (one earned) and five strikeouts. Offensively, Skole was 2-for-4 with two solo homers. Adam Engel and Zack Collins were each 2-for-4 as well.
Postgame Notes: Travis Demeritte’s on-base streak ended at 36 games with a 0-for-4 night. Gwinnett now has 103 homers in 59 games this season. They are 20 shy of tying the Gwinnett single season record of 123 set in 2011.
Next Game (Thursday, June 6): Durham at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m. LHP Kolby Allard (4-3, 4.58 ERA) will pitch for the Stripers. Durham has not announced a starting pitcher. Radio Broadcast: 6:50 p.m. on 97.7 and 93.5 FM "The Other Side of the River."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.