The Louisville Bats used three solo home runs Sunday night en route to a 4-2 victory over the Charlotte Knights. The Bats earned a split of the four game series before Louisville Slugger Field crowd of 6,794.
The final solo blast came off the bat of Cody Puckett in the seventh. It was the third time in the last eight games Puckett has hit a game winning home run. Puckett now has nine homers on the season.
“He has been clutch for us this season,” Bats manager David Bell said. “The way he’s been swinging the bat lately, I don’t that I would want anyone else at the plate.”
For the second straight outing, Chad Reineke was terrific for the Bats. Reineke went seven innings giving up two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out five. Reineke was not credited with a start, however.
Nick Masset, who is on rehab from Cincinnati, was scheduled to start and pitch an inning for the Bats. As the team took the field and Masset had completed his warm-up tosses, a strong storm came pouring on to Slugger Field. An hour and 24 minute rain delay ensued, keeping Masset from throwing a pitch, but not from getting credit for the start.
“There’s a pretty good chance that he’ll start on Tuesday,” Bell said. “He didn’t pitch today but got his work in today.”
The Knights struck first in the second inning on a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Drew Garcia. Charlotte scored first in all four games of the series.
They appeared to have extended their in third when Greg Golson sent a deep drive to straight away center. Denis Phipps went back, leaped at the wall, caught and brought the ball back, robbing Golson of his fifth homer of the season.
“It was a great catch,” Reineke said. “I wish he would’ve shown the ball a little sooner, though. I thought it was a home run.”
The Bats came back to tie it up on Mike Costanzo’s solo home run in the fourth. It was Costanzo’s ninth home run of the season. Costanzo finished 3-for-4 Sunday, giving him his eighth multi-hit game in his last 20. He has hit safely in 15 of 20 and is hitting .381 in that time.
Charlotte came back in the fifth with another run scoring sacrifice fly, this time from Dewayne Wise to take a 2-1 lead.
Louisville would tie the game up with another solo shot, this one from Denis Phipps. It was Phipps’ tenth homer of the season and fifth since the All Star Break.
The Bats got some insurance in the eighth. Neftali Soto led off the eighth with a double and came around to score on an error by Garcia to make it 4-2.
JJ Hoover came on to toss a scoreless ninth to pick up his tenth save of the season.
The Bats welcome the Toledo Mud Hens to town Monday for the start of a four game series. Tim Gustafson (3-3, 4.64 ERA) will take the hill for Louisville opposite Toledo’s Drew Smyly (0-1, 6.75 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
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