CHARLOTTE, NC - A seven-run first inning was not enough for the IronPigs as the Charlotte Knights score nine unanswered runs to take game one of a four-game series, 9-8, at BB&T BallPark.
The hot hitting of the IronPigs on this road trip continued in the first inning of Monday night's matchup, with the Dave Brundage managed club scoring a season-high seven runs in the first inning against the Knights, seeming to be on their way to a fifth consecutive win. The game did not go as planned from there on out, with the team from Lehigh Valley being outscored 9-1 over the next eight innings.
After OF Tyler Henson - who got the scoring started with a solo homerun in the first - plated fellow outfielder Leandro Castro with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to stretch the IronPigs lead to 8-0, the Lehigh Valley bats would go cold as the Charlotte bats got red hot. The bottom of the inning saw the Knights first two runs with back-to-back solo shots off of starter RHP Barry Enright.
The Knights rally continued in the seventh inning when a third solo shot cut the lead to 8-3. LHP Jeremy Horst would relieve Enright three batters later with two outs and a man on first, but a check-swing infield single, a hit batter and an opposite-field single led to two more runs in the inning, making it a three-run game entering the eighth.
RHP Phillippe Aumont would relieve Horst in the eighth with one out and a man on second, Canadian right-hander would allow a single and two walks without recording an out and was replaced by RHP Luis Garcia. The Lehigh Valley closer would get credit for the first blown save of his career when a bases-loaded flair single found its way to the outfield grass, scoring two and completing the Charlotte rally; Aumont got credit for the loss.
Enright left Monday's matchup with yet another no decision despite another solid effort by the International League rookie. The 28-year-old is 0-2 in six starts and is still looking for his first International League win - spending his previous three Triple-A seasons in the Pacific Coast League - despite not allowing more than 4 earned runs in a start this season.
The Lehigh Valley offense tied a season-high with 15 hits on the evening; with Castro leading the way with a three-for-four night including a three-RBI double in the first inning. Henson's homerun marked his third in his last two games, while 2B Reid Brignac added two hits and has now hit safely in 15 of his last 17 contests - .396 AVG (21-53), HR, 7 2B, 11 RBI, 14 R over that stretch.
The IronPigs will attempt to forget this franchise record-tying eight-run blown lead as they play game two at BB&T BallPark on Tuesday. RHP Sean O'Sullivan will attempt to get the Pigs back on track as they try to start a new winning streak down south. Charlotte will send veteran RHP Tommy Hanson to the mound, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05.