FORT MILL, S.C. — The Charlotte Knights pulled within a half game of the Gwinnett Braves in the International League South standings with a 3-2 win in the final game of the home-and-home series Monday night at Knights’ Stadium.
The Knights scored all their runs in the bottom of the sixth off Gwinnett starter Eric Junge. Until that inning, Junge had limited Charlotte to only one hit. But Jordan Danks led off with a double to right-center and then scored on a single to left by Josh Phegley to make it 1-0. A one-out walk by Justin Greene moved Phegley to second and a wild pitch sent him to third. Phegley then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Ozzie Martinez giving the Knights a 2-0 advantage. Greg Golson followed with a single to right to score Greene from second to up the lead to 3-0.
The Braves had no offense until their very last at-bat. In the top of the ninth, Luis Durango led off with a single to center off reliever Brian Bruney. Durango then moved to third on a double to right-center by Felix Pie. With two outs, Christian Marrero singled to right scoring both Durango and Pie to cut the Charlotte lead to 3-2. However, Bruney struck out Stefan Gartrell to end the game with the potential tying run on first.
Junge (3-5) went seven innings and picked up the loss. He gave up six hits, three earned runs while walking two and striking out one. Right-hander Adam Russell worked a scoreless eighth, where he gave up two hits and struck out one.
Charlotte's Charles Shirek (6-3) went seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits, striking out four without yielding a walk. Left-hander Leyson Septimo worked a scoreless eighth, surrendering one hit and Bruney, who recorded his ninth save, gave up the two G-Braves runs in the ninth and allowed three hits with two strikeouts.
Ernesto Mejia was the only Gwinnett player with a multiple-hit night, as he went 2-for-4. Durango, Tyler Pastornicky, Pie, Marrero and Gartrell each had a hit, and Mejia and Pie both registered doubles.
Phegley led the Charlotte eight-hit attack with a 2-for-3 night with one RBI.
The first-place G-Braves (33-25) head to Allentown, Penn., on Tuesday for their final four games of the regular season against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (31-26). G-Braves right-hander Todd Redmond (5-3, 2.63 ERA) will make the start against right-hander Tyler Cloyd (4-1, 2.47) for a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch from Coca-Cola Park.