Columbus headed into Wednesday’s night game with the hopes of starting a winning streak, as a win over Charlotte the night before had ended a losing one. Charlotte, on the other hand, wanted to tie up the series of four meetings at two apiece. With both teams invested highly into the game, it was only appropriate that it went into the 8th inning to find a winner.
The Clippers took to the field under the leadership of Jack Cassel, a strong right-hand pitcher. With Cassel’s good starting pitching, the Clippers held the first inning to just four batters. With this advantage, designated hitter Tony Graffanino hit a home run in his first at base (second batter of the inning), giving Columbus a 1-0 lead.
The Knights were not easily shut down, however, as Michael Restovich hit a single and then was immediately driven in when Daryle Ward hit a home run, putting Charlotte in the lead 2-1. Even though they were unable to score again during the second inning, Charlotte went through their batting order, with all nine players stepping up to the plate. With this quick change of the currents, it seemed as though Cassel was in for a short game.
Columbus retaliated quickly, as in the third Andy Cannizaro was hit in by Michael Aubrey’s two-run home run. Columbus took the lead and entered into a period of innings where nothing happened. Between the third and the sixth neither Charlotte nor Columbus could connect with the ball to score a run. Charlotte was able to end this rut, however, when in the sixth Michael Restovich was walked in.
This was the end of Cassel’s night, and it was also the end of Wes Whisler’s, Charlotte’s starting pitcher, as both were starting to slip. Stepping into their places was a series of relief and closing pitchers, none of which were able to stay on the mound for much more than an inning at most.
Even with all of the pitching changes, Charlotte was able to tie the game up in the eighth when Keith Ginter rounded the bases and hit the home plate. Columbus quickly answered, when Tony Graffanino slid in to home on a fielders choice (the ump and catcher had a meeting about the ‘safe’ call after that) and Michael Aubrey followed suit, giving Columbus a 6-4 lead. This was all that was needed, as Charlotte was unable to score in the top of the ninth.
Masa Kobayashi was credited with the win with 2 innings pitched, 2 hits, and 1 run. This puts his record at 1-0. Wes Whisler was credited with the loss with 6 innings pitched, 7 hits and 4 runs. This puts his record at 3-3.