FORT MILL, SC -- Before Sunday's game against Columbus, Knights Manager Joel Skinner reflected on Father's Day and shared some of his fondest memories. One of his favorite stories was after Bob Skinner was fired from the Phillies, he and his family took an amazing road trip across the country.
After the first pitch, it was all about Michael Nix. The last time he stepped on a Triple-A mound the year was 2008. The Dark Knight was number one at the box office and George W. Bush was the president. On Sunday, he made his return to Triple-A and the International League, and the outcome was a good one.
Nix (1-0, 5.40) allowed three runs over five innings and the Charlotte Knights used three big hits to conquer the Columbus Clippers 6-3 on Sunday in the finale of their four-game series from Knights Stadium. With the win, the Knights split the four-game series with the Clippers 2-2 and the overall season series 4-4.
Making his first Triple-A appearance since September 1, 2008 as a member of the Richmond Braves, Nix allowed just four hits while striking out five in his five good innings. He fanned four batters in the first two frames and looked sharp on the hill.
For Nix, it was his first win in affiliated baseball since his outing on August 22, 2008. On that day, Nix beat the Columbus Clippers -- the same team he beat on Sunday. His two career Triple-A wins have both come against the Clippers.
Since then, Nix has spent parts of the past five seasons playing Independent baseball. On June 7 of this season, Nix was signed by Chicago and assigned to Charlotte. His new teammates helped him out in his return to the IL.
Brent Morel got things started with a three-run double to left field in the bottom of the third inning off Clippers’ starter Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 4.33). It was Morel’s team-leading 18th double of the year and he raised his RBI total to 33.
Matsuzaka, a former Boston Red Sox star, saw his squad grab the three runs right back in the fourth on a Jeremy Hermida three-run home run.
Nix was put in-line for the win when catcher Bryan Anderson led off the bottom of the fourth with his fourth homer of the year. Matsuzaka would last just two more batters before giving way to Paolo Espino -- the cousin of Knights catcher Damaso Espino. "Dice-K" saw his ERA jump from 3.47 to 4.33 while picking up his third loss of the season.
Charlotte reliever David Purcey mowed through the next two innings, giving up just two hits and striking out a batter.
Tyler Greene picked a great time to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, knocking a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to push the Knights ahead 6-3. Greene is batting .405 (17-for-42) with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored during the run. He is currently tied for the longest active streak in the International League.
Brian Omogrosso worked two scoreless innings of relief to pick-up his first save since August 17th of last year.
The 3-4-5 hitters for the Knights, consisting of Morel, Mike McDade, and Lars Anderson, combined to go 6-for-12 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
After the game, fans were able to play catch on the field with their dad in celebration of Father's Day.
The Knights will now begin a four-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs on Monday at Knights Stadium. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:15 p.m. RHP Andre Rienzo will get the start for the Knights and RHP Ryan Tatusko will take the hill for the Chiefs.
Portions of this article were contributed by The Charlotte Knights.