FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Charlotte Knights gave forth a great effort on Tuesday night, but in the end fell just short to the Yankees.
Charlotte (60-45) scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees came away with a 6-4 win in the opening game of the four-game series from Knights Stadium.
With the Knights trailing the Yankees 5-0 in the eighth inning, Charlotte battled and pushed four runs across to cut it to a one-run deficit (5-4). The Yankees however, came back to score an insurance run in the ninth and went on to win the game 6-4.
After not scoring for the first seven innings, Charlotte loaded the bases in the eighth inning with nobody out against reliever Manny Delcarmen. After a Ray Olmedo strikeout, the Knights offense ignited.
Tyler Kuhn hit an RBI single to give the Knights their first run of the game – making it a 5-1 game. Drew Garcia then followed with an RBI single and Dan Johnson drew a bases loaded walk to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
With the bases still loaded and just one out, Conor Jackson hit a sacrifice-fly RBI to make it a 5-4 game. Unfortunately for the Knights, those were the only runs they would score on Tuesday.
Yankees reliever Ryota Igarashi shut the door in the ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season as the Yankees stopped Charlotte’s four-game win-streak. Chase Whitley (7-5, 4.28) earned the win out of the bullpen.
Despite the loss, the Knights held their seven-game lead over Norfolk, who lost to Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
Knights starter Matt Zaleski (3-4, 4.00) allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings and was saddled with the loss. He walked three and struck-out three. Relievers Shane Lindsay and Deunte Heath combined to throw four scoreless frames out of the bullpen. Daniel Moskos allowed a run in the ninth.
The two teams will face off again on Wednesday for game two of the series. RHP Dylan Axelrod is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Knights. Gates are set to open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.