CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Sunday, the Charlotte Knights made it clear from the start that they were not going to let the Indianapolis Indians avoid a series sweep.
George Kottaras, Micah Johnson and Matt Davidson hit two home runs each as the Knights dominated Indianapolis pitching on their way to a 13-1 win at BB&T Ballpark.
The Knights broke the game open in the first, scoring six runs against Indians starting pitcher Casey Sadler without recording a single out.
Johnson started the attack, leading off with a solo home run to right center to give Charlotte an 1-0 lead. Then Jason Coats doubled, Matt Tuiasosopo walked and Davidson singled to load the bases for Trayce Thompson. The Knights’ center fielder would be the fifth consecutive batter to reach in the inning, shooting a RBI single to left to make it 2-0. Kottaras then put an exclamation mark on the big inning, crushing a grand slam off of Sadler to give Charlotte a six-run advantage.
The rough first inning was very uncharacteristic of Sadler, as the six runs he allowed matched the most he had given up in a single start this season. He allowed six runs in five innings of work in a loss to the Toledo Mud Hens on May 31.
Sadler would settle down with a pair of scoreless innings, but ran into more trouble in the fourth.
After Sadler got Coats to ground into a double play, Tuiasosopo singled to keep the inning alive for Davidson. Charlotte’s third baseman would take advantage with his third hit of the game, drilling a two-run blast to left center that increased the home team’s lead to 8-0. The homer would put Sadler’s runs allowed for the day at eight, his highest single game total of the year.
The offense kept coming in the fifth, as Kottaras’ second home run of the day pushed Charlotte’s lead to nine runs. The Knights’ catcher took Sadler deep to right center for his fifth RBI of the game and after Tyler Colvin hit an one-out single later in the inning, Indianapolis called on their bullpen.
A.J. Morris replaced Sadler and would allow Colvin to score when Johnson laced a two-out RBI double, making it 10-0 in favor of the Knights.
Sadler lasted 4 1/3 innings for the Tribe, surrendering ten runs on 11 hits and two walks in his time on the mound.
Charlotte’s bats stayed hot against Morris, as the Knights plated two more runs in the sixth.
Davidson got the frame’s scoring started with an one-out solo home run to center, his fourth hit and second long ball of the afternoon. The Knights then made it 12-0 when Thompson doubled and came home to score on a RBI single from Kottaras, his sixth run batted in of the game.
In the seventh, a third Charlotte batter hit his second home run of the game, making it 13-0 in favor of the Knights. This time it was Johnson, crushing a solo shot to left to build on the Knights’ big lead.
Morris would leave the game after 2 2/3 innings of relief work, allowing three runs on six hits.
While Indianapolis had a tough day on the hill, Charlotte starter Erik Johnson cruised through eight innings of shutout baseball. He held the Indians to just four hits in his time on the mound, walking none and striking out nine.
The Tribe’s lone run of the game came in the ninth, when Charlotte reliever Onelki Garcia took over. Keon Broxton launched a leadoff double and scored when Jaff Decker followed with a RBI single to right.
The Indians will look to get back on track when they begin a four-game series with the Gwinnett Braves on Monday. First pitch from Coolray Field is set for 6:35 p.m. with Chris Volstad (5-2, 3.43 ERA) serving as the Tribe’s probable starting pitcher.