Knights Knotes — June 27, 2017

Photo: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) returned home to BB&T Ballpark last night to open an eight-game homestand. Last night’s opener featured the start of a four-game series against the Columbus Clippers (Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians). The Knights dropped the game by a score of 7–6 and enter play tonight 14.5 games back of the first place Bulls (47–29) in the IL South Division — the farthest out they have been this year. The Knights are 14–23 against the IL South Division and 14–26 on the road this season. The Knights are 18–17 at home this season. Charlotte enters tonight’s game with a four-game losing streak. They have lost seven of their last 10 games.
: OF Jason Bourgeois launched two home runs and added five RBIs, but the Charlotte Knights fell short to the Columbus Clippers by a score of 7–6 on Monday in the opening game of their four-game series from BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. RHP Carson Fulmer (6–5, 5.47) started for the Knights and gave up seven runs on six hits over four innings. He walked three batters and was saddled with the loss. Relievers LHP Matt Purke (2.0 IP), RHP Brad Goldberg (2.0 IP), and RHP Zack Burdi (1.0 IP), kept the Clippers scoreless over the final five innings.
: Yesterday, the White Sox optioned RHP Gregory Infante to Charlotte to make room on their roster for the promotion of RHP Juan Minaya. Infante has reported to Charlotte for today’s game and is now on the team’s active roster, which is now back to 25. Infante, 29, went 0–0 with a 4.79 ERA (11 ER/20.2 IP) and 18 strikeouts in 19 relief appearances with the White Sox this year. With the Knights, he is 0–1 with a 2.08 ERA in 10 games (13.0 IP). 
 KNIGHTS VS. CLIPPERS: The Knights and Clippers are 2–2 head-to-head this season… In four games, 2B Yoan Moncada is hitting .313 (5-for-16) against the Clippers this season… Columbus Clippers coach Jerry Owens is the all-time leader in Knights franchise history in stolen bases with 93. Jason Bourgeois is second with 69. Owens swiped 40 in 2006 with the Knights. He was a teammate with Bourgeois in 2007 & 2008…
:. For the season, the Knights lead all of Minor League Baseball in average attendance (8,942) and have an overall attendance of 304,027 in 34 openings. Last night, the Knights welcomed 9,222 fans (people) and 676 dogs for Bark in the Ballpark. The Knights welcomed their largest crowd of the season — 10,534 fans — on Sunday, May 7. The Knights have welcomed 12 sell-out crowds this season and 99 regular season sell-out crowds in BB&T Ballpark history (opened April 11, 2014). 
: OF Jason Bourgeois, 35, is on a roll and that continued last night. Bourgeois ripped two home runs and finished the night 3-for-5 with five RBIs. He is now hitting .317 (46-for-145) for the season in 44 games played. Bourgeois, who is red-hot at the plate, is hitting .520 (13-for-25) over his last seven games with five runs scored, two home runs, and 11 RBIs. He ranks among the all-time franchise leaders in a number of categories. Last night, Bourgeois inched closer to 400 hits and now has a total of 391 in his Knights career — just nine away from that elusive club. Bourgeois is also among the leaders in a number of other categories, including: third all-time in at-bats (1,338), fifth in games played (344), fourth in runs scored (185), and second in stolen bases (69). On Saturday, he added his 11th career triple with the Knights, which puts him in a tie for second all-time with Ken Ramos. He’s now just one way from tying the all-time leader, Jordan Danks (12). A native of Houston, TX, Bourgeois rejoined the Knights last season after playing for the team in 2007 and 2008. In 2013, he was named to the All Knights Stadium Team. He is just one of five players in franchise history with 300 or more hits (Jordan Danks, 449, Joe Borchard, 439, Bourgeois, Sanchez, and Josh Phegley, 312). He recorded his 350th career Knights hit on Friday, April 14.
 MLB’s TOP PROSPECT: 2B Yoan Moncada, who is ranked as the number one prospect in Major League Baseball by and Baseball America, nearly hit-for-the-cycle on Friday. Moncada went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a triple, a home run, two RBIs, and a stolen base, came a double short. He would have been the first Knights player to hit-for-the-cycle since 1998 when Alex Gonzalez accomplished that feat. For the season, Moncada is hitting .282 (70-for-248) with 49 runs scored, eight doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases over 63 games with the Knights. Moncada is tied for fourth in the IL in stolen bases, (15), and third in the IL in runs scored (49). Earlier this season, (May 1), the White Sox named Moncada as their Minor League Player of the Month for April. He also earned IL Batter of the Week honors on May 8 after hitting .500 (11-for-22) with eight runs scored, two home runs, and four RBIs from May 1–7. 
: RHP Lucas Giolito (2–6, 4.95) will get the start in tonight’s game against the Clippers Tonight’s start will be his first of the season against the Clippers and his 15th start of 2017. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter in game one of the doubleheader on May 25 against the Syracuse Chiefs. It was the first no-hotter in BB&T Ballpark history and the first in Charlotte Knights franchise history since July 25, 2013 when RHP Andre Rienzo threw a seven-inning no-hitter in game one of a doubleheader against the Indianapolis Indians from Knights Stadium in Fort Mill. Before that, Carlos Torres threw a five-inning perfect game on June 18, 2009 in Pawtucket and Tetsu Yofu tossed a nine-inning no-hitter on August 1, 2004 for the Knights. Giolito, along with Knights teammate Reynaldo Lopez, were acquired from the Washington Nationals at the Winter Meetings in exchange for Adam Eaton. He entered the 2017 ranked as Chicago’s number two prospect by Baseball America. Giolito was a first round pick (16th overall) of the Nats in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft.
 COLUMBUS STARTING PITCHER: LHP Shawn Morimando (6–5, 4.11) will get the nod today for the Clippers — his first start of the season against the Knights and 15th overall in 201. A native of Canandaigua, NY, Morimando entered the 2017 season ranked by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in Cleveland’s organization. Last season with the Clippers, Morimando posted a 5–2 record with a 3.51 ERA in 11 starts.

SMASCHE: INF/OF Cody Asche is hitting .367 (11-for-30) over his last nine games with seven runs scored, two home runs, and six RBIs. He hit .400 (14-for-35) in the month of May (11 games) with four home runs for the Knights after starting the season with the Chicago White Sox. He was optioned down to the Knights and joined the club on May 18. He has hit safely in 23 of his 29 games with the Knights this season. He’s hitting .323 in June (21-for-65) in 21 games with three home runs and 10 RBIs…
 WHO’S HOT: 2B Yoan Moncada is hitting .342 (13-for-38) over his last nine games with 11 runs scored, two home runs, and eight RBIs… OF Rymer Liriano is hitting .457 (16-for-35) with 10 runs scored, two home runs and six RBIs over his last 10 games. On Sunday, June 18 at BB&T Ballpark, Liriano had a two-homer game. He went 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs… 1B Danny Hayes launched his team-high 13th home run of the season on Friday, June 16. His solo shot came in the second inning. He currently leads the International League in grand slams with three. He has a team-high 13 home runs and 44 RBIs on the season… Charlotte infielder Ronald Bueno launched his second home run of the season on Sunday. His three-run shot came in a six-run eighth inning for the Knights…. INF/OF Nicky Delmonico has reached base in 17-straight home games dating back to May 23. 
 PEN PALS: RHP Zack Burdi (0–4, 4.66) struck-out two more batters last night and now has fanned 47 batters in 29.0 innings pitched. He leads the Knights with six saves and is tied for third in the IL in games finished (20)… RHP Brad Goldberg (3–1, 1.99) earned the win on June 21 out of Charlotte’s bullpen. He added two more shutout innings last night. He has not allowed a run over his last 5.0 IP.
: The Knights have had three players this season honored by the International League with weekly awards. Most recently, RHP Lucas Giolito was named as the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 22–28. He became the third Knights player to earn the award this season. So far this season, the Knights are tied for first in the IL with three weekly award winners. OF Willy Garcia (April 6–9) and 2B Yoan Moncada (May 1–7) have also claimed International League weekly honors this year. 
 FROM THE SOUTH TO THE SOUTH SIDE: RHP Juan Minaya earned his second promotion to Chicago this season when he was recalled yesterday. For the season, the Knights have promoted 11 different players to Chicago. RHP Tommy Kahnle (April 6), catcher Kevan Smith (April 13 & May 10), outfielder Willy Garcia (April 14 & May 2), RHP Mike Pelfrey (April 22), RHP Chris Beck (April 25), LHP David Holmberg (May 4), RHP Gregory Infante (May 15), RHP Tyler Danish (May 26), outfielder Adam Engel (May 27 & June 20), RHP Brad Goldberg (June 3), are the 10 others who have all received promotions this year.

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