FORT MILL, S.C. — Proving that turnabout really is fair play, one night after erupting for nine runs over the first two innings, the Indianapolis Indians (63-42) fell victim to an early six-run onslaught through the first and second frames in an eventual 9-2 lopsided defeat to the Charlotte Knights (46-28) on Tuesday night at Knights Stadium. The loss snaps the Tribe’s two-game winning streak and drops the team to 2-4 in six games following the All-Star break.
The Knights immediately greeted starter Atahualpa Severino (L, 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, BB, 2 SO) with back-to-back singles from 2B Sean Tolleson and SS Carols Sanchez to open the contest, and 3B Brent Morel moved the runner over to third with a deep fly out to center. With men on the corners, 1B Travis Ishikawa brought Charlotte’s first run home by dribbling a grounder to second that both moved Sanchez to second and gave the home team an early 1-0 lead.
Following the grounder, Indianapolis found itself in position to stymie the first-inning rally after reducing the Knights to their final out, but DH Mike McDade continued to be a thorn in the Tribe’s side and knocked a run-scoring single for his team-leading eighth RBI that extended the lead 2-0. CF Jordan Danks then kept the frame alive by slapping a sharp grounder to third for an infield hit, his first of four base knocks on the night, before RF Tyler Greene sent both runners racing home to widen the gap 4-0 when he crushed a double to the gap in left field.
The Indians got a run back in the second as DH Russ Canzler worked a leadoff walk and scored all the way from first on an RBI two-bagger from 3B Jared Goedert that made it 4-1, but Charlotte erased the lone tally with two of their own in the home half of the frame.
In the bottom of the second, Severino quickly dug himself into a hole by plunking leadoff man Tolleson and later uncorking a wild pitch that scooted past C Lucas May to send the runner up 90 more feet. The next Knights batter Morel followed with an easy roller to third, but Goedert was unable to corral the potential double-play ball to allow Sanchez to advance safely to second while Tolleson came plateward to make the score 5-1.
Indianapolis’ left-hander was able to momentarily settle down to coax a flyout from Ishikawa and fan McDade, but after Sanchez tagged to third on Ishikawa’s fly ball, Severino was ultimately chased from the contest when Danks stroked an RBI single to right to buffer the home team’s lead to 6-1.
Clearly still stinging from last night’s rout, Charlotte continued to pour it on with two more runs in the fourth inning, beginning with a one-out single from Morel, who stole second one out later before scoring on a base knock from McDade to buffer the lead to 7-1.
Although Morel easily crossed home on the hit, SS Brian Bocock unleashed an errant throw on an attempted play at the plate to give McDade an opportunity to advance to second, and one batter later Danks picked up the runner with an RBI single that put the game further out of reach at 8-1.
The Indians would add a lone score in the seventh to make it 8-2 when LF Andrew Lambo knocked a leadoff double, took third on a single from Bocock and scored on a sac fly from May, but the run served as little more than a confidence boost in the contest’s final outcome.
While Charlotte exploded for eight runs in the first seven innings, Indianapolis’ volatile bats were pinned down to just a pair of scores by a dominant start from RHP Jason Berken (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 SO). Both of the right-hander’s runs were results of the Tribe’s two doubles, and aside from the extra-base hits, Berken surrendered just three singles and one walk as he cruised through his 7.0 innings of work. The Knights starter dialed in through the middle frames to retire 14 of 16 batters from the second through the sixth inning.
With the game all but decided, the Knights tacked on one more run in the seventh for good measure to cap off their 9-2 lopsided victory over the Tribe.
Indianapolis and Charlotte will square off in the third contest of their four-game set tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. at Knights Stadium. The Indians are scheduled to issue a StolmWatch with RHP Stolmy Pimentel (2-2, 2.74) on the mound, while the Knights are expected to counter with RHP Zach Stewart (5-10, 4.91).
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