(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - With their most dramatic comeback of the season, the Charlotte Knights erased a late deficit before walking off in the 10th inning for a thrilling 13-12 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Wednesday night.
Down 12-8 with two outs in the eighth, the Knights got back-to-back homers from Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes to cut the deficit in half. The homer was Collins' second of the night and 14th of the season while Mercedes hit his 12th at the Triple-A level.
In the ninth, the Knights drew even. Danny Mendick led off the inning with a single. Two hitters later, he came home on Trey Michalczewski's single to make it a one-run game. With two outs, Luis Robert reached on an error to keep the game going and put runners on the corners. Daniel Palka then walked to load the bases. With the game in the balance, Collins drew a walk to tie the score at 12-12. But with a chance to win it, Mercedes struck out to send the game to extra innings.
Juan Minaya (W, 4-1) worked around a double steal in the top of the 10th to pitch a scoreless frame. In the bottom half, Charlie Tilson laced a two-out single to left with the winning run on second base. As the throw from left field came toward home plate, Paulo Orlando slid home to score the game winning run, giving the Knights the improbable come-from-behind win.
Charlotte started with a quick lead on Collins' three-run homer to right in the first inning to put the Knights up 3-1 after one.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got a run back in the fourth against Knights starter Donny Roach. But Charlotte expanded the lead in the bottom of the fifth on Collins' RBI single for his fourth RBI of the game. Mendick drove in the sixth Charlotte lead with a sacrifice fly before RBI singles from Tilson and Michalczewski gave the Knights a 7-2 lead after five.
Roach surrendered two more runs in the sixth, but left with a 7-4 lead. Over 6.0 innings, the veteran righty gave up four earned runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. A sacrifice fly from Mercedes restored a four-run Knights lead in the eighth
But the RailRiders took a 12-8 lead with eight runs in the top of the seventh against the Knights bullpen. In the eighth, Connor Walsh held Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scoreless and the back-to-back homers made it a 12-10 game. Minaya did the same in the ninth, setting the stage for the tying rally in the ninth and the winner in the 10th.
Offensively, Collins tied a career-high with six RBI behind two home runs in a 4-for-5 performance. Michalczewski went 3-for-4 with two RBI while Mercedes and Tilson also drove in a pair in the win.
The win puts the Knights just 1.5 games behind the Durham Bulls in the International League Wild Card standings.
The Knights and RailRiders conclude their series on Thursday night. Justin Nicolino (6-6, 6.08) is expected to start for Charlotte. Pregame coverage of the 7:04 p.m. game is set for 6:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte. The "Voice of the Charlotte Knights" Matt Swierad and long-time Knights radio broadcaster Mike Pacheco will have the call for all of the action.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.