(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) — The first pitch of the game that Mark Payton saw in the first inning was launched for a home run. The final pitch of the game he saw in the ninth inning also left the park — it was the game winner.
Payton launched two home runs, including a walk-off blast in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Charlotte Knights to an impressive 7-6 win on Sunday night in the finale of a six-game series against the Nashville Sounds from Truist Field in Uptown Charlotte. With the win, the Knights earned a series victory over the Sounds. Charlotte won four of six games against the top team in Triple-A.
Down by a score of 6-1, the Knights rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap-off a thrilling two-week homestand at Truist Field. Payton, the team leader in numerous offensive categories, hit his 23rd home run of the season in the first inning. His 24th home run of the season, a three-run blast, led the Knights to a second consecutive win.
The Knights scored the first of six runs in the ninth inning on an RBI double by Xavier Fernández. With just one out in the inning, Raudy Read then scored Charlotte’s second run of the frame on a wild pitch. After Zach Remillard was hit by a pitch, Nick Ciuffo recorded an RBI single to pull the Knights to within two runs.
Down by a score of 6-4 — and with three runs already in — Payton played the hero. On a 2-2 count from Nashville reliever Matt Hardy (3-1, 4.28), Payton homered over the right field fence.
RHP Matt Foster (1-0, 1.50) earned the win for the Knights after he tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
LHP John Parke started for the Knights and allowed four runs on three hits over three innings. The Sounds scored all four runs off Parke in the third inning on two home runs. Esteury Ruiz connected on a three-run blast and Joey Wiemer added a solo shot. The Sounds tacked on two more runs in the top of the eighth inning against Charlotte reliever Lane Ramsey. In the eighth, Pablo Reyes hit an RBI double and Pedro Severino added an RBI single to give the Sounds a 6-1 advantage.
The Knights will now have an off day on Monday before opening up a six-game road series against the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA on Tuesday night. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 6:35 p.m. The “Voice of the Charlotte Knights” Matt Swierad will have the call for all of the…