Charlotte’s offense erupts in rout of PawSox

Provided by the Pawtucket Red Sox

Charlotte, N.C. – Charlotte catcher George Kottaras homered and drove home six runs as part of a 15-hit offensive explosion and the Knights completed a three-game sweep of the Pawtucket Red Sox, 15-5, on Thursday night at BB&T BallPark. Garin Cecchini’s two solo home runs and four hits were not enough to keep Pawtucket within striking distance.

Charlotte struck for five runs in the first inning against Pawtucket starter Keith Couch to take command early, while the Knights scored at least once in every inning but the second and seventh. Kottaras hit a three-run double in the first against Couch, then capped his night with a three-run home run (2) in the sixth against Edwin Escobar.

Pawtucket (32-35), which was swept in a series for only the third time this season, had a plethora of chances on offense with ten hits collected and seven walks received against four Charlotte hurlers. But the PawSox stranded 12 runners on base giving them a total of 32 left on base in the three-game series.

Cecchini (4-for-5, three runs, two RBI) hit long balls against Charlotte starter Shawn Haviland (3-4) leading off in the second and fourth innings. It was the third multi-homer game for a PawSox player this season, and the first since Rusney Castillo’s on May 15th. It was also just the second four-hit game for a Pawtucket hitter in 2015, with Blake Swihart’s on April 18th.

Couch (3-7) recorded only two outs in the first before being lifted in favor of Dalier Hinojosa. He was charged with five runs (all earned) on three hits and four walks. Tyler Colvin’s RBI double that made the score 5-0 knocked Couch from the game.

Hinojosa allowed a run in the third, then two in the fourth that put Charlotte in front 8-2. Escobar, in only his second appearance with Pawtucket since coming back from the Major League disabled list, allowed five runs in one inning of work including Kottaras’ blast to right that put the Knights ahead 13-2.

Matt Barnes relieved Escobar and struck out all five batters he faced in a 1.2 innings pitched. Pat Light then allowed a pair of runs in the eighth on Micah Johnson’s two-run single to finish the scoring. It was the first tallies scored against Light in his four appearances since being promoted from Double-A Portland.

Pawtucket rallied for three runs in the eighth against reliever Zach Phillips, highlighted by Sean Coyle’s RBI walk and Mike Miller’s RBI fielder’s choice groundout. Deven Marrero went 3-for-5 with a double for the PawSox.

Haviland allowed two runs on five hits in five innings pitched and defeated Pawtucket for the second time in as many weeks. Colvin went 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and a triple to pace the Knight’s prolific offense.

The PawSox six-game road trip continues to Gwinnett for the next three days. Game one of the series is scheduled for a 7:05pm first pitch on Friday night. Left-hander Brian Johnson (7-4, 2.51) is expected to start for the PawSox while the Braves counter with lefty Greg Smith (2-3, 2.63). 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.

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