INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Charlie Leesman’s arm and Seth Loman’s bat did all the talking on Wednesday. Leesman tossed a career-high eight innings and Loman ripped three hits to lead Charlotte to their first playoff win in six years.
Loman launched a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, Charlie Leesman (1-0, 1.13) allowed just one run over eight remarkable innings, and the Charlotte Knights beat the
Indianapolis Indians 8-1 on Wednesday in the opening game of the 2012 Governors’ Cup playoffs from Victory Field in Indianapolis. With the win, the Knights now hold a one-game advantage in the best-of-five series.
Charlotte entered Wednesday’s contest with a 5-3 record against the Indians this season. Leesman entered it with a 1-0 mark and a 0.75 ERA against the Indians in two starts this season. Leesman and the Knights both continued their winning ways.
The Knights jumped out to a quick three run lead in the top of the first inning off of Indianapolis starter Rick VandenHurk (0-1, 10.13). A one-out double by Drew Garcia started things off for Charlotte. Brent Morel then doubled home Garcia for Charlotte’s first run of the game. Then it was Loman’s turn.
Loman, who appeared in 115 games for the Double-A Birmingham Barons this season before a promotion to the Knights on August 30, didn’t waste any time.
On the first pitch he saw from VandenHurk, Loman launched a two-run home run – his first career
Triple-A home run and the Knights were on top by a score of 3-0. Wednesday would prove to be a career day for Loman, who was named as Birmingham’s Player of the Year earlier in the day.
The Indianapolis offense had one good inning against Leesman, who set a new career-high in innings pitched with eight solid frames on Wednesday. The Cincinnati, OH native allowed his only run of the ball game in the first inning on an RBI groundout from Hector Luna.
That was the only blemish on Leesman’s night. In all, he allowed just one run on four hits and struck-out six batters to earn the win – his 13th overall in 2012.
The Knights tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull away from Indianapolis. In the sixth, Brandon Short tripled home Trayce Thompson and Carlos Sanchez to make it a 5-1 game. Short would later score on a wild pitch to give Charlotte a 6-1 lead.
An inning later, it was the hometown hero coming through in the clutch. Charlotte catcher Josh Phegley, an Indiana native, ripped a two-run home run over the left field wall to make it an 8-1 lead.
The home run was Phegley’s seventh overall this year.
Loman finished the game a triple shy of the cycle, while two of his teammates had triples. Jared Mitchell and Short each had a triple in the game. Mitchell, who led the Southern League with 12 triples this year, finished the contest 3-5.
Leesman went to the ninth to try and complete the game, but was removed after allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning. Reliever Brandon Kloess came on to get the final three outs and close things out in Indianapolis for the first win of the series. Kloess fanned two batters in the final inning, including former Knights infielder Dallas McPherson.
The two teams will battle in game two of the series on Thursday from Victory Field. RHP Charlie Shirek will toe the rubber for Charlotte, while the Indians will send RHP Gerrit Cole to the mound.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and it is the last scheduled game in Indianapolis before
Charlotte returns home for game three on Friday at 7:15 p.m. Games four and five are also scheduled to be played at Knights Stadium -- if necessary.