(Charlotte, NC) – Pawtucket rallied back from three separate deficits, the last time erasing a 6-4 Charlotte lead with a four-run eighth inning as the PawSox defeated the Knights, 8-6, Thursday night at BB&T BallPark in the opener of a four-game series.
Alex Hassan (game-tying single), Ryan Lavarnway (go-ahead single) and Travis Shaw (RBI double) collected consecutive two-out RBI hits in the eighth to highlight Pawtucket’s winning rally. Charlotte catcher Josh Phegley hit a three-run home run in the sixth and a two-run blast in the seventh to twice provide the Knights the lead but each time the PawSox struck right back.
With the victory, Pawtucket (65-54) remained 0.5 games ahead of Rochester in the IL wildcard standings after the Red Wings defeated Indianapolis 7-0. The squad also remained 2.0 games behind first-place Syracuse in the North Division as the Chiefs won their third straight, 4-1 over Louisville.
After being held to only one run through six innings by Charlotte starter Erik Johnson, Pawtucket struck for three in the top of the seventh to tie the score at 4. Mookie Betts’ two-run single chased Johnson from the game, then two batters later Lavarnway’s RBI single knotted the game.
Phegley had gone deep in the sixth off of PawSox starter Steven Wright to plate three unearned runs. He then lined a two-run shot (20) inside the foul pole in left against reliever Alex Wilson (5-1) in the seventh to give the Knights a 6-4 lead. But Pawtucket collected four runs in the eighth against MLB-rehabbing Matt Lindstrom (0-1) to take control.
Dalier Hinojosa (eighth inning) and Ryan Verdugo (ninth inning) each pitched a scoreless frame with two punchouts with Verdugo recording his first save since 2010. Hassan and Lavarnway, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, each recorded three of Pawtucket’s 13 hits. Matt Spring and Betts joined Lavarnway with two RBI-nights.