FORT MILL, S.C. -- Jared Mitchell and Justin Greene each hit home runs and the Charlotte Knights beat the Louisville Bats 8-6 on Thursday in game three of their four-game series from Knights Stadium. The win was Charlotte’s 74th of the season and sixth-straight, which tied their longest win-streak of the season. Charlotte’s magic number is now down to eight with 17 games left to play in the regular season. Second place Norfolk were winners on Thursday as well.
Charlotte starter Dylan Axelrod (7-4, 2.97) allowed four runs in the first inning, but settled down over the next four innings to earn his seventh win of the season. Axelrod walked three batters in the inning and with just one out, he allowed a grand slam to catcher Dioner Navarro to make it a 4-0 Louisville lead. He was stingy the rest of the way.
The Louisville lead didn’t last long as Charlotte came right back in the bottom of the first inning of Bat starter Tim Gustafson (4-5, 5.07). Greg Golson started the inning with a double and Drew Garcia followed with an RBI single to make it a 4-1 game.
The Knights added two more runs in the inning courtesy of RBI groundouts from Dan Johnson and Josh Phegley. With the Charlotte Knights trailing by just one run (4-3), Mitchell launched his first career Triple-A home run. The two-run shot by Mitchell gave Charlotte a 5-4 lead, one that they would never relinquish.
Three innings later, it was Greene’s turn. The South Carolina native led the fourth inning off with his fifth Knights home run of the season to give the Knights a 6-4 lead. Charlotte tacked on two more runs an inning later to make it an 8-4 game and while the Bats came within two runs after adding a run in the sixth and eighth, they fell short of the Knights for the third day in-a-row.
Outfielder Jordan Danks went 3-5 with a run and an RBI and has now reached base safely in 26-straight games with the Knights. Jhan Carlos Marinez worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.
The two teams will wrap up the series on Friday at 7:15 p.m. Gates are set to open at 6:00 p.m. and LHP Charlie Leesman, a 2012 IL All-Star, will make the start for the Knights. Leesman and the Knights will face Louisville RHP Todd Redmond in the finale.