(NORFOLK, VA) -- The Charlotte Knights dropped the final game of the 2019 regular season to the Norfolk Tides by a score of 7-6 in 10 innings on Monday afternoon from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. The Knights needed a win over the Tides and a loss by the Durham Bulls to clinch the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Durham lost their game against the Gwinnett Stripers by a score of 8-5, but the Knights fell just short in their attempt at a playoff berth with the extra-inning defeat.
Charlotte, NC native Jack Reinheimer singled home José Rondón in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Tides the come-from-behind win in the season finale. The Knights led the Tides by a score of 5-2 into the eighth inning, but the Tides scored five runs over their final three innings to earn the win.
For the Knights, 2B Nick Madrigal went a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate on Monday with two RBIs. Madrigal helped the Knights get off to a solid start with an RBI single in the third inning to give the team an early 1-0 lead. One inning later, DH Yermín Mercedes launched his 17th home run of the season with the Knights, a solo shot to give the team a 2-0 lead. It was his 23rd home run of the season overall (he hit six with Birmingham).
The Knights tacked on to their 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth thanks to the second RBI single of the game from Madrigal. The Tides then battled back and added their first run of the game on a sacrifice-fly RBI in the bottom of the fifth inning from LF Ryan Mountcastle.
With the Knights ahead by a score of 3-1, Mercedes came through with a big two-run double to give the Knights a 5-1 lead at that point. The Tides added one more run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the Knights ahead by a score of 5-2, the Tides made a comeback attempt in the bottom of the eighth inning by scoring four runs to take a 6-5 lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, Mercedes tied the game with his fourth RBI of the day, a sacrifice-fly RBI. With the game now knotted at 6-6, the Charlotte bullpen held the Tides in the bottom of the ninth to push the game into extra innings.
The Knights then had runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the 10th, but were unable to push across a run. In the bottom of the 10th, the Tides manufactured a run off reliever Juan Minaya (4-3, 3.71). With Rondón on second to begin the inning (extra-inning rule), catcher Martin Cervenka hit a sacrifice-fly. With Rondón now on third base, and Ademar Rifaela on first base after an intentional walk, Reinheimer hit the game-winner.
RHP Dylan Covey was sharp on the day for the Knights. Covey, who got the start in the final regular season game, allowed just two runs on eight hits over 6.2 innings pitched.
The Knights will now look ahead to the 2020 season, the team's seventh in BB&T Ballpark history. The team will open the campaign on the road from Durham, NC against the Durham Bulls on Thursday, April 9. Opening Knight of the 2020 season at BB&T Ballpark is on tap for Thursday, April 16 against the Bulls.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.