Charlotte, N.C. – Charlotte starter Erik Johnson combined with two relievers to strike out 18 Pawtucket batters and despite getting a strong rehab start from Justin Masterson the PawSox fell to the Knights, 2-0, on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at BB&T BallPark.
Johnson (5-5) struck out 11 in six innings of work, working around three singles and three walks to keep the PawSox off the scoreboard. Blake Smith fanned a pair in the seventh and stranded the bases loaded, while Onelki Garcia earned the save with two scoreless innings that included five punchouts.
Pawtucket (32-33) did collect 11 total baserunners (six hits and five walks) but stranded all of those on base. Masterson (0-2) allowed just two runs (one earned) in six innings pitched, scattering three hits and three walks while throwing 89 pitches.
Matt Barnes returned from the big leagues to relieve Masterson and pitched around a leadoff double to keep Charlotte off the board in the seventh, fanning two Knights in the process. Pat Light tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning behind Barnes and has now retired all nine batters he has faced over three Triple-A apperances.
The Knights plated a run in the second inning on three singles against Masterson, the last of which came from DH Tyler Colvin with two outs that plated Matt Davidson and make the score 1-0.
Charlotte doubled its lead in the sixth without the benefit of a hit, as Tyler Saladino led off with a walk and then stole second and third base. Then with two outs, left-fielder Quintin Berry could not catch Trayce Thompson’s line drive and Saladino scored from third base on the error.
Berry and Allen Craig each reached base three times to pace the Pawtucket offense. Berry went 1-for-3 with two walks, while Craig was 1-for-2 with a pair of bases on balls.
Game two of the series is scheduled for a 7:05pm first pitch on Wednesday night. Right-hander Jess Todd (2-2, 5.28) is expected to start for the PawSox while the Knights counter with righty Scott Carroll (3-2, 2.37). Radio coverage on 920 AM (WHJJ) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.
The PawSox return home on Monday, June 22nd to welcome Rochester at the beginning of a seven-game homestand. Good seats are still available at the McCoy Stadium box office, by calling (401) 724-7300 or by visiting pawsox.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.