It was a terrific day for the Knights pitching staff, which allowed only two hits all game. As a result, the offense had a low bar to clear, and three runs were enough to secure a close victory.
Indiana Hoosier Jonathan Stiever made his return from lat surgery, and his first effort of 2022 was a solid one: a scoreless first inning against the Jumbo Shrimp. Kade McClure took over in the second, and he delivered three perfect innings, striking out four. At the end of the fourth, the only Jacksonville player to reach base did so on an error in the first.
Despite the pitching staff’s excellent start, the Knights could not get ahead until the fourth. Oscar Colás (who else?) started the rally with a leadoff single, and Lenyn Sosa also singled to put runners on the corners. Still with no outs, Blake Rutherford hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to drive in Colás.
Oscar Colás scores our 1st run of the game on a Blake Rutherford sac-fly RBI!— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) September 22, 2022
We lead the 'Shrimp 1-0! pic.twitter.com/toBo2VLNBf
Andrew Pérez pitched a scoreless fifth, and Zach Muckenhirn delivered a scoreless sixth to preserve the 1-0 lead. The only downside to the middle portion of the game is that Jax’s Brian Miller broke up the combined no-hitter with a two-out double in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Knights finally added some insurance to make the bullpen’s job easier. Rutherford drew a leadoff walk, and Yolbert Sánchez singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Adam Haseley popped out, but Sánchez stole second to put two in scoring position with one out. Then, Nick Ciuffo delivered an RBI single, and Indiana Hoosier Craig Dedelow drove in a run with a productive ground out before collecting a stolen base. When the seventh-inning stretch arrived, the Knights had a 3-0 lead.
Given how effective Charlotte’s pitching was, the three-run lead appeared to be completely safe. That was until the bottom of the ninth, when Bennett Sousa’s control and fielding eluded him. With one out and nobody on base, Sousa picked up an error to allow Jesús Sánchez to reach first. After a walk, a strikeout, and a hit-by-pitch, the bases were loaded with two outs.
The Jumbo Shrimp had the potential winning run at home plate. Ray-Patrick Didder, who represented the winning run, hit a ground-rule double that scored a pair. Just like that, the tying run was 90 feet away, and the winning run was in scoring position. However, Sousa got his act together just in time, as he retired Ryan Lavarnway with a ground out to end the game.
Who was the Knights MVP?
This poll is closed
Lenyn Sosa: 2-for-3, BB
Oscar Colás: 2-for-5
Kade McClure: 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 K
Jonathan Stiever: IP, welcome back!
Who was the Knights Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Bennett Sousa: 1 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, fielding error
Mark Payton: 0-for-5
Zach Remillard: 0-for-3, 2 K, HBP