Hot Start Leads Knights Past Bulls 6-4
(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - After getting off to a fast start, the Charlotte Knights held on to defeat the Durham Bulls 6-4 in the opener of their four-game series on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark.
After Justin Nicolino recorded a scoreless top of the first, the Knights offense quickly went to work. Danny Mendick led off the inning with a double and Daniel Palka reached base. Two hitters later, Matt Skole got the scoring started with a single to right to score Palka. Paulo Orlando followed with a single of his own to plate Orlando and give the Knights the early lead.
In the third, Seby Zavala doubled the Charlotte lead with a towering two-run homer to left-center, his sixth of the season, to give the Knights a 4-0 lead. Mendick drove in Adam Engel with a bases-loaded walk later in the frame as the Knights built a 5-0 edge.
That would be enough support for Charlotte starter Justin Nicolino (W, 2-1). The lefty did not give up a hit until the fourth inning in his best outing as a Knight. Over 6.0 solid innings, he gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 6.0 innings to earn his first Knights win.
The Bulls got closer off Knights reliever Matt Tomshaw, but Zach Thompson came in and escaped a jam to keep the Knights in front 5-4 in the seventh.
Engel capped the scoring with a solo home run to left-center, his second of the season, in the bottom of the seventh to restore a two-run lead for Charlotte.
José Ruiz (S, 3) entered with two outs in the eighth and finished the win with a four-out save, his third of the season.
Offensively, Skole was 3-for-5 with an RBI while Engel was 2-for-4 with the home run and two runs scored. Ryan Goins also added three hits and a stolen base in the win.
Charlotte and Durham continue their four-game series on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark, with Ross Detwiler (1-0, 3.00) scheduled to start for the Knights. Pre-game radio coverage of the 7:04 p.m. game is set for 6:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte. The "Voice of the Charlotte Knights" Matt Swierad and long-time Knights radio broadcaster Mike Pacheco will have the call for all of the action. The game can also be found on NBC Sports Chicago and WMYT My 12 in Charlotte. Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell joins the broadcast.
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