CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A rough road trip for the Indianapolis Indians (51-46) continued on Saturday night.
The Tribe scored two runs in the top of the ninth to pull within a run of the Charlotte Knights (47-52), but Indy left a pair of runners aboard to ensure a 5-4 win for Charlotte. The loss drops Indianapolis to 1-5 on their seven-game road swing.
The teams traded runs early on in this one, with the game tied at 2-2 after two and a half innings. Jose Rondon hit the first of his two homers to highlight Charlotte’s two-run second inning. The Indians responded in the third, using four consecutive singles to even things up at two runs each.
Tribe starting pitcher Tyler Eppler allowed the Knights to build a 5-2 lead, however. A double-single combination gave the home team a 3-2 edge in the fourth before Rondon struck again. Charlotte’s shortstop’s second long ball was a two-run bomb in the fifth, extending the Knights cushion to 5-2.
Eppler did not return for the sixth, finishing with a final line of five runs allowed on eight hits and three walks in five innings of work.
Saturday’s ballgame was locked up at a score of 5-2 all the way until Indy’s final at-bat, where they nearly completed another comeback.
Kevin Kramer led off the ninth with a double and scored a batter later, as Chris Bostick (fresh off of the disabled list) drove him home with a RBI single. Bostick later scored on a passed ball to make it a 5-4 game and after Ryan Lavarnway and Pablo Reyes singled, the Indians had two runners on with just one out.
Charlotte made a pitching change, though, and it paid dividends. Gregory Infante entered the contest for the Knights and promptly struck out both Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier, leaving the go-ahead runs stuck on base for Indianapolis.
The final game of the road trips comes from Charlotte at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Mitch Keller (0-1, 13.50 ERA) aims to send the Indians home on a high note.