Knights topple Bisons in extras

After striking out three times in his previous four at bats, designated hitter Valentino Pascucci was not having a memorable day at the plate. That all changed with one swing of the bat when he took the first pitch of the ninth inning to the opposite field to tie the game at six and send the game into extra innings.

After Pascucci’s heroics in the ninth, the Herd could not provide any more offense in the extra frames, losing 8-6 against the Charlotte Knights at Coca-Cola field on Tuesday night. The Knights struck in the eleventh when Robert Hudson scored off of a Jordan Danks single. The Knights then extended their lead when Dayan Viciedo doubled to center to drive home Danks and give the Knights a two run lead they would not relinquish.

Pascucci had an opportunity to be the hero again in the eleventh. Pascucci came to bat with third baseman Mike Hessman on first after he was hit by a pitch. He could not recall the magic as he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Shortstop Russ Adams would then ground back to the pitcher to end the game.

The story of the game was the Bisons lack to drive in runs after getting men on base. The Herd ended up leaving 12 runners on the base paths.

After loading up the bases in the fifth catcher Josh Thole flew out to left to end the inning. The Herd loaded up the bases again in the sixth but Pascucci could not take advantage as he grounded out to end the inning.

Third baseman Mike Hessman was one of the bright spot for the Herd in the losing effort. Hessman, going 2-3, added to his league high totals in home runs and RBI’s when he hit a two-run home run in the first and drove in another run in the third. Hessman launched a 1-1 pitch to left field to bring his season total of home runs to 13, two more than second place Dan Johnson of Durham. Hessman is also now eight RBI ahead of Colorado’s Carlos Santana.

Hessman was no slouch on the defensive end either. Hessman showed off his glove, making two great plays in the sixth. Hessman robbed Luis Rodriguez and CJ Retherford of hits in the sixth. Hessman would then again make a spectacular backhanded stab to stop a Tyler Flowers liner from reaching the outfield in the eleventh.

Hessman was outdone for defensive play of the day by center fielder Jason Pridie. Pridie timed his jump perfectly and snagged a Flowers fly ball that was sure to be a home run in the third inning.

The loss drops the Herd to 22-17 on the season while the Knights improved to 17-23. With a Scranton loss the Herd still remain a game back in the division. John Lujan was charged with the loss and his record now stands at 1-1. For the Knights Kyle McCulloch was credited with the win, his first of the season and Greg Aquino picked up his fifth save of the season.

BISONS NOTES: Pridie left the game in the sixth when he injured his right hamstring running to first on a bunt single. Manager Ken Oberkfell said after the game that he expects the centerfield to miss some time. Josh Thole also left the game with an leg injury in the eleventh. While catching, Thole tripped over a bat when trying to make a tag on the eventual game-winning run. Oberkfell was more optimistic on the status of Thole’s injury.

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