Dan Hudson the Virginia Beach native who starred at Princess and High School and Old Dominion University came back home with authority on Monday night leading the Knights to a 6-3 victory over the Tides. 2913 fans were in attendance including Hudson’s personal fan gallery in section 205 with temperatures that dropped into the mid-50s. Hudson’s supporters hung “Ks” off the Right Field Party Deck as the hard throwing right hander stuck out nine Tides giving up only 2 hits and a run in 5.2 innings work. Apart from a lead off solo home run by Tides Center Fielder Jeff Salazar, Hudson had the Tides number at one point retiring 14 Tides in a row before Rhyne Hughes singled with 2 outs in the 5th inning.
Tides starter Brandon Erbe making his AAA debut did not fare as well. The Orioles prospect surrendered 2 runs in the top of the first as he gave up consecutive weak singles to Alejandro De Aza and Jordan Danks and a base on balls to Stefan Gartrell. De Aza was driven in on a ground out by Josh Kroeger and Danks on a ground out to short by Tyler Flowers before Erbe stuck out Dayan Viciedo to end the inning.
With the Tides’ bats silent and Hudson cruising the Knights went back to work in the 4th when Brett Lillibridge was safe on a infield single to Tides Third Baseman Josh Bell. With one out C. J. Retherford lined a double into right field which scored Lillibridge making the score 3-1. The Knights would add another run in the 5th off of Erbe when Stefan Gartrell singled to left off of Erbe who was pulled for reliever Jim Miller. Miller who struggled in his first outing initially seemed unsure of himself. Gartrell stole second beating the throw by Steve Lerud and scored when Tyler Flowers doubled off the right field wall near the foul pole. Miller recovered his poise to strike out Viciedo and get Lillibridge out on a fly to center.
In the bottom of the 5th the Tides got a two out rally when Rhyne Hughes singled off of Hudson to end the Tides hitting drought. Steve Lerud walked but the inning ended on a Jonathan Tucker ground ball which led to a force out of Lerud at Second.
In the 6th inning Miller gave up a single to Javier Castillo to lead off the 9th but stuck out the side sending Retherford, De Aza and Danks down on strikes looking like he did in the first half of 2008 when as a closer he saved 13 games and was selected for the International League All-Star Team. In the bottom half of the 6th Robert Andino doubled off of Hudson with one out and after Hudson got Lou Montanez to ground out to third leaving Andino frozen at second Hudson left the game to the wild cheers of his personal cheering section. Erick Threets then got Scott Moore to ground out leaving yet another Tides base runner in scoring position.
Steve Lerud trying to gun down a Knights runner
Miller set down the Knights in order in the 7th striking out another and the Threets returned the favor in the bottom of the 7th sending Snyder, Bell and Hughes down in order allowing Miller to leave the game in much better shape than his opening night performance. It seemed as if the old Jim Miller was back.
Kam Mikolio came in for the Tides in the top of the 8th and the big right hander struggled. After striking out Viciedo Mickolio gave up a single to Lillibridge who then stole second and was driven home on a double to right by Javier Castillo. Mikolio then waled De Aza and struck out Danks before being relieved by Alberto Castillo. The Tides closer got Stefan Gartrell to ground out on a dribbler to him in front of home plate to end the inning. Former Tide Greg Acquino came in for Charlotte and retired the first two batters before giving up a single to Jeff Salazar. The Tides were unable to take advantage as Robert Andino struck out to end the inning.
Charlotte would add another in the 9th off of Castillo when Josh Kroeger singled to left and advanced to second when Tyler Flowers was hit by a pitch. Dayan Viciedo then popped out to Brandon Snyder in foul territory. Brent Lillibridge at bat Kroeger stole 3rd base. Lillibridge sacrificed Kroeger in for the 6th Knights run before Javier Castillo flied out to right to end the inning. In the bottom of the 9th Lou Montanez flied out to center and Scott Moore went down on strikes before Brandon Snyder singled to center and advanced on a wild pitch by Acquino. Josh Bell doubled to Right scoring Snyder and scored himself when Rhyne Hughes singled to Center. Steve Lerud walked but the rally died when Jonathan Tucker flied out to Right Fielder Stefan Gartrell to end the game.
Tonight Chris Tillman (0-1 4.50) will work against Charlotte’s Lucas Harrell (0-0 9.53). The there are rain showers in the forecast with temperatures in the 50s so bundle up and meet me there.