FORT MILL, S.C. -- Charlie Shirek pitched six shutout innings and earned his 10th win of the season as the Charlotte Knights defeated the Gwinnett Braves 4-3 on Monday night at Knights Stadium in game three of the four-game series.
Charlotte struck first in their initial at-bat with a Conor Jackson two-run double with two outs that scored Drew Garcia and Brent Morel. The double extended Jackson’s personal season-high hitting streak to 14 games. He was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles. Jackson is now 14-for-24 on the homestand.
The Knights (63-48) extended their lead in the fifth when newcomer Tyler Saladino scored on an error by first baseman Ernesto Mejia. Garcia drove in Tyler Kuhn with a sacrifice fly to right-centerfield to make the score 4-0 after five innings.
Shirek (10-4, 3.51) did not allow a run in six innings and struck out four while only walking one. He improved to 3-0 against Gwinnett this season.
Gwinnett’s attempt at a 7th-inning rally ended on a spectacular double play by Kuhn. Luis Durango lined out to Kuhn in left field with one out and runners on first and third. Josh Kroeger tried to tag up from third and score but Kuhn’s throw nailed him at the plate to end the inning and keep the Knights’ cushion at 4-0. Kuhn was also 2-for-4 at the plate on the night.
The Braves broke up the shutout in the 8th when former-Knight Stefan Gartrell hit his second homer of the series and 17th of the season. The two-run shot cut the lead in half 4-2.
In the ninth, Brian Friday tacked on a solo-homer off of Knights reliever Brian Omogrosso to make it a 4-3 game. Omogrosso recorded all three outs however to earn his fourth save of the season.
Saladino, who was promoted to the Knights from Double-A Birmingham before the game, went 1-3 with a run scored in his Triple-A debut.
The Knights will wrap up the series and the homestand on Tuesday afternoon with a 12:15 p.m. Summer Fun Day game. Gates are set to open at 11:00 a.m.