Fernandez's knuckleball leads RiverBats over Knights
May 5, 2001 - Newspaper Clipping - from the Louisville 'Courier-Journal'
Fort Mill, S. C. - There's still a place for the knuckleball pitcher in baseball. Or at least that's what Jared Fernandez is counting on.
The Louisville RiverBats' 29-year-old right-hander is one of a handful of brave souls in professional baseball who still throws the 60-mph flutterball as his main pitch. Thursday night he made it dance in a 4-3 victory over the Charlotte Knights.
Fernandez scattered four hits over 7 2/3 innings, and D.T. Cromer, Bill Selby and Raul Gonzalez homered as the Bats took the first game of a four-game series.
'It was a great start for us,' Louisville manager Dave Miley said.
Fernandez's outing was his longest of the season and undoubtedly his most effective. He allowed only a double and a pair of singles over his first seven innings and struck out five Knights.
His knuckleball 'was moving around pretty good,' said Fernandez, who began throwing the pitch as a change of pace six years ago. 'And catcher Matt Walbeck caught a really good game.'
The RiverBats took the lead on Cromer's towering solo homer to right field in the first inning and made it 3-0 with Selby's two-run home run in the fourth. He hit a fastball from starter Jon Rauch over the right-field fence after Tommy Davis led off with a long single down the left-field line.
Charlotte got a run in the fourth when Aaon Rowand, the International League's doubles leader with 14, smacked a two-base hit to the gap in left center and got home on a pair of infield outs.
The Bats' third homer, Gonzalez's shot to right in the 5th, gave them a 4-1 lead.
Fernandez yielded a pair of runs in the eight. Rowand made the score 4-2 when he hit a long one-out homer to RF. Then, Joe Crede was hit by a pitch, Mark Johnson struck out and reached base on a passed ball by Walbeck. Chris Nichting relieved Fernandez and was greeted by Jeff Inglin's RBI single up the middle.
Nichting struck out Chris Ashby to end the inning, then struck out the side in the ninth for his eight save of the year.
Fernandez (1-2) was the winning pitcher... Rauch (0-3) the loser. Louisville is 16-11 for 2001, first in the Western Division while Charlotte fell to 13-14.
AFTER THE GAME NEWS:
The Cinnati Reds called up Brondon Larson from the Louisville RiverBats, giving the Reds another backup for their injury depleted infield.
The move came after shortstop Barry Larkin left a game With tightness in his groin and third baseman Aaron Boone was hit by a pitch on the left wrist.
Larson took the roster spot of Brady Clark, an outfielder who was optioned to Louisville. Larson was batting .200 in 23 games with one home run for the RiverBats. Baseballhistorian.com - Newspaper Clipping - Baseball History