Fort Mill, SC August 19, 2013 – On Monday, Erik Johnson turned in his best performance as a Charlotte Knight and Andy Wilkins provided the offense.
Johnson threw eight shutout innings, Wilkins launched a home run in the bottom of the second inning, and the Charlotte Knights beat the Durham Bulls 1-0 on Monday in the finale of their three-game series from Knights Stadium. It was Charlotte’s seventh shutout win of the season.
Johnson (3-1, 1.59) allowed seven hits over his eight marvelous innings and struck out five batters on the night. Ranked as the number four prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, Johnson lowered his ERA to 1.59 with the Knights through seven games.
Originally selected by the White Sox in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft, Johnson has enjoyed a spectacular 2013 season. The 6’3″ right-hander started the year with Double-A Birmingham and posted an 8-2 record with a 2.23 ERA over 14 starts. He was promoted to the Knights on June 23 and picked up right where he left off.
In two starts against the Bulls this season, Johnson has allowed just one run over 11.0 innings pitched.
With the game scoreless, Wilkins stepped to the plate in the second inning against Durham starter Jake Odorizzi (8-6, 3.56) and ripped his seventh home run of the season (with Charlotte) to give the Knights a 1-0 lead at that point. The home run by Wilkins proved to be the game-winner after neither Johnson nor reliever Deunte Heath allowed any runs.
Heath retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning before allowing a two-out single to Vince Belnome. Kevin Kiermaier then entered the game as a pinch runner. With Mike Fontenot batting, Kiermaier swiped second base to give the Bulls the tying run in scoring position with two outs. Heath, however, battled back to strike out Fontenot to end the game. Heath earned his third save of the season.
Marcus Semien chipped in with two of Charlotte’s five hits on the evening as the Knights improved to 40-8 this season when leading after five innings.
The two teams will now head to Durham, NC for a quick two-game series. The Knights will send RHP Jason Berken (10-11, 3.93) to the hill against LHP Mike Montgomery (7-6, 4.65) in game one on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from Durham as the Bulls will honor former Atlanta Braves and Durham Bulls great Chipper Jones before the game.