(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) — Daniel Fields reached base in the 12th inning with one thing on his mind — score the game-winning run. That’s just what he did.
Fields raced home on a wild pitch and slid in just in time to lead the Charlotte Knights to a 5-4 walk-off win over the Durham Bulls on Sunday in the finale of their three-game series from BB&T Ballpark in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,222 fans. With the win, the first place Knights moved to two games ahead of the Gwinnett Braves in the International League South Division standings.
Sunday’s game — which lasted a season-high four hours and 20 minutes — ended with Charlotte’s fourth walk-off victory of the season. Fields led off the 12th and final inning with a single off Durham reliever Parker Markel (0-1, 5.14). It proved to be the most important hit of the game.
With Fields on first base representing the winning run, Leury Garcia dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Fields to second base and into scoring position. He didn’t stay at second base for very long as he stole third base with catcher Omar Narvaez at the plate. After Narvaez was hit by a pitch, the table was set for Travis Ishikawa with runners on the corners.
With Fields at third base and Ishikawa at the plate, Markel threw a pitch into the dirt and the speedy Fields sprinted home to score the game-winning run. The wild pitch by Markel gave the Knights their seventh win over their last eight games. After hitting just .248 as a team in April, the red-hot Knights are hitting .284 in May with a 10-5 record.
Charlotte continued their hot-hitting early in the finale and jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI single by Garcia and a two-run single by Andy Parrino. Garcia extended his on-base streak to 26-straight games. It remained a 3-1 game until the sixth inning when the Bulls tacked on a run on a Nick Franklin RBI double. At that point, the Knights held a 3-2 over their in-state rival, with a chance to close things out in the ninth. .
Charlotte reliever Tommy Kahnle came on in the top of the ninth inning in search of the save, but the Bulls had other ideas. Durham battled back to score two runs to take a 4-3 lead. The key hit in the inning came off the bat of Daniel Robertson, who hit a two-run, go-ahead double.
In the bottom of the ninth frame, Charlotte tied the game when Fields drew a bases-loaded walk. Travis Ishikawa scored the game-tying run from third base. Fields and Ishikawa also played an important role three innings later when Fields scored the game-winner with Ishikawa at the plate.
RHP Terance Marin (3-3, 6.54) did not allow a run in the top of the 12th inning to earn the win out of the bullpen. Marin was the sixth Charlotte pitcher on the day. RHP Anthony Ranuado started the game and allowed one run on three hits over four innings. It was his first start with the Knights since being acquired in a trade on Thursday.