FORT MILL, S.C. — The Charlotte Knights beat the Gwinnett Braves by a 6-1 score on Sunday afternoon in Game 3 of the four-game series at Knights Stadium. The loss moved the fourth-place G-Braves to four games behind the third-place Knights in the International League South Division standings.
The Knights (50-59) scored first in the bottom of the second against Gwinnett starter Joe Bisenius. Travis Ishikawa and Andy Wilkins drew walks to put two runners on base, and Steve Tolleson hit a hard ground ball to second that was scored an infield single. On the hit, G-Braves second baseman Tyler Pastornicky threw wildly to first base for an error, allowing Ishikawa to score for a 1-0 Charlotte lead. Angel Sanchez followed with a single to left scoring Wilkins for a 2-0 lead.
The G-Braves (46-63) cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the third against Charlotte starter Erik Johnson. Pastornicky led off with a walk, moved to second on a double to right-center by Ernesto Mejia and scored on a single to left by Brandon Boggs. But that would be as close at Gwinnett would come, as the offense produced just one more hit the rest of the game.
In the bottom of the third, Bisenius gave up a leadoff single to Carlos Sanchez and allowed him to go to second on a wild pitch. Brent Morel then singled to right scoring Sanchez from second for a 3-1 lead. Morel stole second and scored on a single to right by Jordan Danks to raise the Charlotte lead to 4-1.
The final two runs for the Knights came in the bottom of the seventh off of Gwinnett reliever Ryan Buchter. Michael Earley led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Carlos Sanchez. Morel plated both runners with a double to right-center for a 6-1 lead, capping the scoring on the day.
Bisenius (L, 3-4) went 5.0 innings in the loss. He gave up six hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out five. Buchter worked 2.0 innings with three hits, two earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts. Mark Lamm pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth with two strikeouts.
Johnson, in his first start since returning to the Knights from the disabled list, went 2.1 innings. He allowed two hits and one earned run while walking four and striking out three. Former Atlanta infielder, now converted to a pitcher, Tony Pena, Jr. (W, 4-8) got the win in relief by going 3.2 innings with two hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Jake Petricka pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Former G-Brave Deunte Heath closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Boggs, Mejia and Alden Carrithers and Joe Leonard were all 1-for-3 for Gwinnett, with Boggs driving in the lone run.
For the Knights, Carlos Sanchez, Tolleson and Morel each went 2-for-4, with Morel driving in three runs.
The G-Braves and Knights conclude the four-game series on Monday afternoon at Knights’ Stadium, first pitch scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Gwinnett will start left-hander Yohan Flande (5-6, 4.95), while Charlotte will start right-hander Jason Berken (9-9, 3.77).