FORT MILL, S.C. -- Charlie Leesman and the Charlotte Knights entered Friday’s finale from Knights Stadium with win streaks on the line. Those streaks continued after one of the more impressive games of the season.
Leesman (11-9, 2.59) allowed just six hits over seven shutout innings, Greg Golson and Jordan Danks provided the punch at the plate, and the Charlotte Knights earned a four-game series sweep of the Louisville Bats with a 2-0 win on Friday at Knights Stadium. With the win, coupled with a Norfolk late-inning win, Charlotte’s magic number in the International League South Division is down to seven games. The Tides went to the ninth inning trailing Gwinnett 2-1, but went on to win the game 3-2 in 10 innings.
Charlotte (75-53) won for the seventh-straight game, marking a new season-high for the club. Friday’s win was their 75th of the season, which ties them with Indianapolis for the most in the IL.
Leesman entered Friday’s game with two straight wins under his belt and the fourth-lowest ERA in the IL. After seven shutout innings, he lowered his ERA to 2.59 – the third lowest in the league. He struck-out four batters and now has a win in four of his last five games. The 2012 IL All-Star is 3-0 in the month of August.
“You can never count Charlie out, “ added reliever Brian Omogrosso. “He’s battled through a lot of stuff this year.”
Charlotte’s offense broke a scoreless game in the sixth inning when Golson led off the frame with a single off former White Sox reliever Will Ohman (0-1, 4.26). Four batters later, newcomer Jose Lopez singled on a line drive to left field to bring Golson around for the game’s first run. It was all the Knights would need to win the finale.
One inning later, Charlotte added an insurance run. Hector Gimenez started the inning with a single and after Jared Mitchell struck-out, the Knights added back-to-back walks to load the bases and set things up for Danks.
Danks, who entered the game having reached base safely in 26 straight games for the Knights, ripped a single to left field to make it a 2-0 Knights lead. He finished the game 1-4 at the plate with an RBI. He currently has a seven-game hit-streak, as well as a 27-game on-base streak.
Omogrosso entered in the eighth inning and was lights-out for Charlotte. The hard-throwing right-hander struck-out three batters over two scoreless innings to earn his ninth save of the season.
“The chemistry with our team is just amazing,” said Omogrosso. “Even though we have been sending guys up and bringing guys up from down below, we have the same core players here that make it a very comfortable atmosphere for everyone to be in.”
The Knights will now make the trek to Norfolk to face the second place Tides for a quick two-game series. Charlotte will have a chance to gain even more ground with a win in each of the next two games. RHP Matt Zaleski is the expected starter for the Knights in game one. The Knights hold a 10-game lead over Norfolk in the standings. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.