FORT MILL, S.C. — Charlotte starter Andre Rienzo spoiled another fantastic start from Tribe right hander Stolmy Pimentel by tossing a seven-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 win against Indianapolis in game one, before the Knights held on to earn the doubleheader sweep with a 5-4 victory over the Indians in game two on Thursday night at Knights Stadium.
The road trip woes continued for the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday night as the Charlotte Knights took down the Tribe in both games of the doubleheader to earn a 3-1 series victory.
Game one was a historic one for Knights starter Andre Rienzo (7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 SO), who compiled a season-high 11 strikeouts on his way to tossing a seven-inning no-hitter against the Indians. It was the first no-hitter for Charlotte since Carlos Torres’ five-inning perfect game against Pawtucket on June 18, 2009. It was also the first time that Indianapolis has been no-hit since Adrian Hernandez, Kevin Lovingier and Bob Scanlan combined for a nine-inning no-no on June 10, 2002 in Columbus.
The effort for Rienzo continues a dominating month of July in which the Brazilian born right hander has gone 3-0 with a miniscule 1.23 ERA (4 ER in 29.1 IP) and 26 strikeouts over four starts. With his 11 punchouts on Thursday night, Rienzo also passed Indianapolis left hander Andy Oliver for the International League lead in strikeouts with 113.
The no-hitter by Rienzo spoiled yet another fantastic start by Tribe RHP Stolmy Pimentel (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO), who went the distance, allowing just one run on six hits and no walks while striking out three. Over his last 3 starts Pimentel has allowed just three earned runs in 21.0 IP (1.28 ERA), while striking out 15 and walking only three.
The effort from Pimentel wasn’t enough, however, as the Knights scored the only run they needed in the bottom of the second. 1B Mike McDade began the rally with one of his three singles in game one, before LF Jordan Danks and DH Andy Wilkins followed with base hits of their own to bring home McDade for the only run of the contest.
The Indians offense broke out of their offensive slump with four scores on eight hits in game two, but it wasn’t enough as the Knights jumped out early and piled on late to take home the 5-4 victory.
Charlotte took the early lead with a two-run rally in the bottom of the first that began with a one-out base hit from SS Steve Tolleson. 3B Brent Morel then followed Tolleson’s base hit with a double, before DH Travis Ishikawa brought them both home with a single of his own to give the Knights the 2-0 lead.
Indianapolis finally got on the board with single tallies in the third and fourth frames that evened the score at 2-2. The Tribe pushed across their first run when DH Darren Ford sped home on a Knight’s throwing error in the third, before LF Andrew Lambo smashed a solo home run to center to even things up in the fourth.
Though the no-hitter in game one ended a six-game hitting streak for Lambo, he was able to get back on track with his 11th home run in an Indianapolis uniform in game two. Between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis this season, Lambo has now hit a Pirates organization best 25 home runs and driven in an organization best 78 runs.
However, after Lambo evened the score with his blast in the top half of the fourth, the Knights quickly got the lead back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame. After Morel led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, Wilkins doubled him home to give Charlotte back the advantage at 3-2.
The back-and-forth battle continued as the Indians again evened things up with an RBI single from Presley in the top half of the fifth. But the Knights would finally put things away with a two-run single by LF Michael Earley in the bottom half of the sixth.
The Indians did mount one final comeback attempt, drawing to with-in one with a seventh inning RBI base knock by Ford, but Charlotte reliever Jake Petricka (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) would escape the final frame on his way to earning his second victory of the season.
After Pimentel went the distance in game one, RHP Brandon Cumpton (6.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) did the same in game two, but surrendered five runs (four earned) on nine hits to suffer the loss and fall to 4-7 on the season.
After playing 16 of their last 18 games on the road, Indianapolis will finally return home for an 11-game homestand, beginning with a contest against Syracuse on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. RHP Graham Godfrey (7-6, 4.54 ERA) is expected to make the start for the Indians, while the Chiefs are scheduled to counter with RHP Ryan Tatusko (3-4, 3.59 ERA).
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