Knights Knotes: May 11, 2017
KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) opened a seven-game road trip on Monday night at Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN against the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates). The Knights traveled to Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN with a two-game winning streak, but dropped all three games in the series. The Knights dropped to 4–12 on the season in road games. The Knights will now open a four-game series against the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) starting tonight from Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY. The Bats enter play having lost seven of their last 10 games and are just 6–13 at home this season. The Knights (14–17) return home on Monday for a three-game series. The Knights are 10–5 this season at BB&T Ballpark.
ABOUT THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: RHP Chris Volstad allowed just one run over five innings, but it was just enough to propel the Indianapolis Indians to a 1–0 win over the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday in the finale of their three-game series from Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN. Making his third start of the season, Volstad (0–2, 6.55) was sharp over five innings, but proved to be the hard-luck losing pitcher after allowing just one run in the second inning. Volstad, 30, gave up an RBI single to Joey Terdoslavich, which ended up as the only run of the afternoon. Terdoslavich paced the offense with two hits and the RBI. Indianapolis RHP Tyler Eppler (3–1, 2.36) held the Knights to just four hits over seven innings en route to the win. Relievers A.J. Schugel and Dovydas Neverauskas held the Knights scoreless over the final two frames. Neverauskas earned his fourth save of the season.
MORNING GAMES: The Knights played their fourth morning game of the season yesterday and fell to 1–3 in morning games in 2017. Charlotte won their first morning game of the season in Toledo as they beat the Mud Hens 6–5 on April 27, but has since dropped their last three — including back-to-back morning games over the last two days in Indianapolis. The Knights went 1–1 in morning games last season and 2–2 in morning games in 2015.
RECENT ROSTER MOVES: Just before game time on Wednesday, the Knights announced four roster moves, including the promotion of catcher Kevan Smith to Chicago. Smith, 28, was promoted to the White Sox from April 13–20, going 1–11 (.091) with one double and one RBI over three games. He has already appeared in 14 games with Charlotte this season and was hitting .377 (20–53) with six doubles, 15 RBI, six walks and a .435 on-base percentage. He took roster spot of catcher Geovany Soto, who was placed on Chicago’s 10-day disabled list (retroactive to May 8) with right elbow inflammation. In addition, the Knights activated catcher Carson Blair off the DL, placed outfielder Jason Bourgeois on the DL, and received LHP Will Lamb from Double-A Birmingham.
BACK IN LOUISVILLE: RHP Zack Burdi and outfielder Adam Engel, are both products of the University of Louisville. Burdi has put together a solid season with the Knights this year. Yesterday, Burdi tossed another scoreless inning yesterday and has not allowed a run over his last seven appearances (9.0 IP). He has 15 strikeouts over that stretch. Burdi is back in Louisville tonight where he compiled an 8–4 record with a 2.44 ERA and 20 saves over 60 appearances for the Cardinals over three seasons (2014–2016). Engel was named Third Team All-Big East in 2013 and Second Team All-Big East in 2012 with the Cardinals. Engel is currently hitting .290 (9-for-31) with three home runs and five RBIs in the month of May (9 games) with the Knights.
MONCADA MANIA: Charlotte second baseman Yoan Moncada, who hit .500 (11-for-22) with eight runs scored, two home runs, and four RBIs over six games last week, was named as the International League’s Batter of the Week for the period of May 1–7, as announced by the International League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. on Monday. Moncada is currently hitting .342 (40-for-117) with six home runs, and nine stolen bases. Ranked as the number one prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB.com, Moncada is in the top five in the League in batting average (T-2nd), hits (2nd), total bases (3rd), and stolen bases (T-2nd). Moncada became the second player this season to earn IL Batter of the Week honors for the Knights. Outfielder Willy Garcia, who is now a member of the Chicago White Sox, was named as the IL Batter of the Week during the first week of the season (April 6–9). The Knights are the only team in the IL with multiple batters of the week so far this season. Earlier this season (May 1), the Chicago White Sox named Moncada as their Minor League Player of the Month for the month of April. During the first month of the season, Moncada hit .314 (27-for-86) with 16 runs scored, four home runs, seven RBIs, and six stolen bases in 21 games for the Charlotte Knights
DEFENSIVE LEADERS: 3B Nicky Delmonico leads all International League third basemen in most putouts (19) and is tied for first in games (29)… 2B Yoan Moncada leads all International League second basemen in nearly all defensive categories including games (29), most total chances (131), most assists (81), and most double plays (24)… 1B Danny Hayes leads all International League first basemen in most total chances (265), most putouts (245), most double plays (30), and assists (20).
KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (3–1, 3.94) gets the start in today’s opener in Louisville. Lopez got the start for the Knights on Saturday in game two of the three-game series and won for the third time in his last three games (3–0). Lopez allowed just two hits while striking out seven batters over 5.2 innings pitched last night. Over his last three starts, Lopez, 23, is 3–0 with a 2.55 ERA in his last three starts. On April 30, Lopez allowed one run on three hits over six innings en route to his second win of the season. A native of the Dominican Republic, Lopez also struck out 10 batters in a game on April 11 in Durham. He entered the 2017 season ranked as the number three prospect in Chicago’s system by Baseball America. Lopez was obtained by the Chicago White Sox on December 7, 2016 with Charlotte teammate Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning from the Washington Nationals for outfielder Adam Eaton. Eaton was recently lost for the season with an ACL tear.
LOUISVILLE STARTING PITCHER:
FUL SPEEED AHEAD: RHP Carson Fulmer (4–1, 2.88) continued his winning ways on Sunday and allowed just one run on three hits over six innings en route to his third consecutive winning decision. The Vanderbilt University product struck-out four batters and improved to 3–0 with a 1.54 ERA over his last four games (23.1 IP). Fulmer has now won all four of his starts at BB&T Ballpark this season. He is 4–0 with a 1.93 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched at BB&T Ballpark this year. In two May starts, Fulmer is 2–0 with a 1.59 ERA (11.1 IP).
PEN PALS LHP Matt Purke continued his solid stretch out of the Charlotte bullpen yesterday. Purke tossed 2.0 scoreless innings. The Charlotte lefty has not allowed a run in eight consecutive appearances (13.0 IP) and has 14 strikeouts over that span, including 10 over his last three games (6.0 IP)… LHP Brian Clark tossed a scoreless inning yesterday and has not allowed a run in any of his four appearances this season (3.2 IP). Dating back to last year with the Knights, Clark has not allowed an earned run in six straight Triple-A games (6.0 IP).
ALL-TIME KNIGHT: OF Jason Bourgeois, who is in his fourth season with the Knights, was placed on the DL yesterday. Bourgeois, 35, ranks among the all-time franchise leaders in a number of categories. On Sunday, April 9, Bourgeois passed Yolmer Sanchez (347) for third place on Charlotte’s all-time hits list. 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 and now has a total of 364 career Knights hits Bourgeois is also among the leaders in a number of other categories, including he is fifth in at-bats (1,257), sixth in games played (320) with Chris Clapinski, tied for third in triples (10), fourth in runs scored (176), and second in stolen bases (67). 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.