CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dustin Garneau‘s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth gave the Charlotte Knights (46-52) a 6-5 walk-off win over the Indianapolis Indians (51-45) on Friday.
The Tribe rallied from three runs down to force extras, but Charlotte prevailed in the opener of a three-game set at BB&T Ballpark.
Right-hander Clay Holmes manned the mound for the Indians on Friday, making his first start with Indianapolis since June 19. It wasn’t his best outing, but there were definitely some bright spots.
Charlotte jumped on Holmes early, plating two runs each in the first and third innings to grab a 4-1 lead. By the time three innings were in the book, the Knights had already gotten to Holmes for seven hits. But Indy’s right-hander hung in there after Friday’s bumpy beginning.
Holmes ultimately ate up seven innings for the Tribe, in addition to striking out a season-high tying eight batters. A solo homer allowed in the fifth gave Charlotte one more run against Holmes, leaving him with a final line of five runs allowed on ten hits and two walks in seven innings pitched.
By the time Holmes was out of the ballgame, Indy was already chipping away at their deficit. The Indians trailed 4-1 after three and 5-2 after five, but were able to methodically get themselves back into the ballgame.
Jackson Williams‘ sacrifice fly in the sixth trimmed the Knight’s cushion to 5-3. Austin Meadows contributed another sac fly in the seventh, pulling Indianapolis to within a run. And in the eighth, Williams picked up another RBI with a single that tied the score at 5-5. But it just wasn’t meant to be on this night for the visitors.
Friday’s contest bled into extra innings, but the Indians were unable to cash in on their runner standing on second base. Jason Martin led off the top of the tenth with a sacrifice bunt, moving Kevin Kramer up to third base with one out. But Jerrick Suiter and Williams each went down on strikes to leave Kramer 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run.
Charlotte would not waste their runner in scoring position. Mason Robbins singled and Patrick Leonard was intentionally walked, loading the bases full of Knights in an instant. Garneau then put an end to the game, sending a fly ball deep enough to right field to bring home the winning run.
Tribe reliever Casey Sadler threw just four pitches in the tenth before Charlotte walked off.
The middle game of this weekend series is slated for a 7:04 p.m. start on Saturday. Tyler Eppler (9-4, 3.21 ERA) will aim to get the Indians a W over the Knights.