By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats were powerless against the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday night.
In their previous two games against Charlotte the Bats had totaled 26 hits, including nine home runs. The latter helped them take over the International League lead in big flies at 106. However Wednesday night at Knights Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. the Louisville managed only four hits - two doubles and two singles - in a 2-1 loss to the Knights.
The loss, only their third in their last 10 games, dropped the Bats (49-50) back below the .500 mark on a night when a win would've moved them into a second-place tie with Indianapolis in the IL West.
Charlotte (51-48), the second-place team in the IL South, also only had four hits. However the Knights' last hit - a one-out RBI-double by Alejandro De Aza - was the game-winner.
Both starters - Louisville's Ben Jukich and Charlotte's Jeffrey Marquez - gave up three hits and one run over five innings. The big difference was that Jukich walked four and the run that he allowed was unearned.
Both starters gave up single runs in the fourth inning.
Louisville's Yonder Alonso led off the fourth with a double, then scored on Juan Francisco's one-out single.
Then in the bottom of the inning Jukich walked the leadoff batter, Tyler Flowers. A wild pitch by Jukich moved Flowers to second, then an errant pickoff attempt by Jukich allowed Flowers to take third. Flowers scored the tying run on Brent Morel's ground out.
The game was delayed more than 30 minutes by rain in the fifth.
Jukich, who also struck out eight, was replaced by Enerio Del Rosario to start the sixth. Del Rosario cruised through the sixth, but in the seventh he gave up a one-out walk to Robert Hudson. Hudson scored the game-winning run when the next batter, De Aza, doubled. Del Rosario (1-3) allowed one hit, one earned run and walked one in two innings.
Gary Matthews Jr. led Louisville at the plate, going 2-for-4 to increase his batting average to .319.
Knights reliever Jhonny Nunez (3-1) picked up the win as he walked one and struck out three in two innings.
The final game of the four-game series is 7:15 p.m. Thursday night at Knights Stadium.