FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Norfolk Tides scored four runs in the ninth inning and five in the 12th inning and stole the opening game of the four-game series with the Charlotte Knights on Friday night.
Down 7-3 to first place Charlotte in the ninth, the Tides battled back to sneak four runs past the Knights and pour on five more three innings later en route to a 12-7 victory. Charlotte reliever Shane Lindsay (1-1, 6.86) allowed all five runs in the 12th (three earned) and was saddled with the loss.
In an important series for both teams, the second place Tides pulled to six games back of Charlotte in the International League South Division with Friday’s win. The Knights, who had an eight-game lead at the start of the day Thursday, have five more games this season with Norfolk, including three more in the series at Knights Stadium.
Charlotte (68-53) had a chance to win Friday’s game and went to the ninth inning with a four-run lead. Closer Brian Omogrosso, who had a save in four-straight games, allowed four runs in the inning and the teams were forced to go to extra innings.
Offensively for Charlotte, Tommy Manzella had three hits and Dan Johnson homered to add to his International League-leading total. Johnson’s two-run home run in the eighth inning was his 26th of the season. Manzella was activated off of the disabled list before the game.
RHP Charlie Shirek started for the Knights and allowed three runs on five hits over five innings and did not factor in the decision. Shirek beat the Tides earlier this season, but left with the game tied 3-3.
The two teams will continue their series on Saturday. RHP Dylan Axelrod is expected to get the start for Charlotte, while the Tides will send LHP Dana Eveland to the hill. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Charlotte Knights and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) are teaming up to host the 5th annual “Swing to Cure Diabetes” sponsored by Atlas Copco on Saturday. Players will wear special jerseys, which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Charlotte Chapter of JDRF. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The night will conclude with post-game fireworks, presented by Time Warner Cable, Bank of America, 1110 WBT and Carolina Weekly.