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Bisons fall in series finale to Knights, 4-3

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After the Bisons tied the game in the eighth, the Knights answered by scoring one run in the ninth, which proved to be the deciding factor in Sunday afternoon's 4-3 final from Coca-Cola Field.

Casey Gillaspie's RBI-single brought home the eventual game-winning run as the Bisons were unable to even the score in their last chance in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Bisons' starter Sean Reid-Foley got into a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first, but got out of the inning unscathed. He forced two consecutive outs to escape the frame-- striking out ex-Bison Michael Saunders and inducing a groundout against Patrick Leonard.

In the second, Reid-Foley got into more bases-loaded trouble. This time, the Knights were able to scratch across three runs, but only one went against Reid-Foley's line. Jake Elmore's sacrifice fly brought home the first run of the inning and one batter later, Gillaspie reached base on a fielding error. Eddy Alvarez scored on the play. Then, Kevan Smith hit a seeing-eye single through the shortstop and third base gap to plate the third run of the inning.

Righty Nick Tepesch took over in the third for the Herd and also allowed three Knights to reach base but prevented Charlotte from scoring a run. Left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. threw a one-hop strike to Reese McGuire to nab Johnny Giavotella at home plate for the third out of the inning.

Tepesch did a fine job keeping Charlotte off the scoreboard in five innings of long relief. He only gave up three hits and sat down three by way of the punch out.

"He [Tepesch] did a great job," Bisons' manager Bobby Meacham said. "Because of him, I thought we were going to win that thing, so hats off to him, he did a great job."

After only registering one hit in the first two turns at the plate, the Herd offense opened the third inning with three consecutive singles against former first-round lefty Carlos Rodon, who had yet to allow an earned run this season. Rodon, 25, pitched on injury rehab after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery to his throwing arm last September.

Gift Ngeope singled to left, Ian Parmley legged out an infield single and Tim Lopes slashed a single to right to load the bases. Then, Smith Jr. broke through with a two-RBI single-- the fourth straight hit in the inning to move the Herd within one run of the lead.

"I felt good," Smith Jr. said after the game about his at-bats. "I just wanted to get back into the rhythm of playing again and just get my body back going and I just tried to put good at-bats together," he said. "I came through with runners in scoring position."

Later in the inning, the Bisons pulled off a double steal to put the tying run on third base, but Rodon struck out the side to record all three outs. In the fourth, Buffalo had another chance to even the score, but Rodon was aided by a double play to get out of the inning. His outing lasted six innings and he yielded two earned runs to Buffalo while striking out eight hitters.

In the seventh, the Bisons knotted the game up at three. Ngeope drew a walk as the leadoff man in the inning and a sacrifice bunt from Parmley pushed Ngeope into scoring position. Then, Smith Jr. delivered once again with his third RBI of the game on a single to center field.

Buffalo has a scheduled off day on Monday before heading to Toledo to take on the International League West leader, the Mud Hens, in the first game of a 10-game road stretch. First pitch from Fifth Third Field is set for a 7:05 p.m. start time on Tuesday.