Knights Charge Past the Bulls 6-4 Monday
Red-Hot Charlotte Knights Record Fifth-Straight Victory
(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) -- Nicky Delmonico launched a two-run home run in a three-run first inning to help set the tone and lead the red-hot Charlotte Knights to a 6-4 win over the Durham Bulls on Monday in the opening game of their three-game series from BB&T Ballpark. With the win, the Knights (19-17) earned their fifth consecutive victory and pulled to within just four games of first place Durham in the International League South Division.
The Bulls started the game strong in the first inning as center fielder Mallex Smith homered off Charlotte RHP Chris Volstad. Durham’s early 1-0 lead did not last very long, however.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Knights got off to a quick start against Durham RHP Jacob Faria (4-1, 3.92). Charlotte leadoff hitter Jacob May reached base after getting hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Delmonico roped a two-run home run over the right field wall to give the Knights an early 2-1 lead. The home run was Delmonico’s third of the season.
Three batters later, after a Danny Hayes walk and an Adam Engel double, Rymer Liriano hit a sacrifice fly, which scored Hayes for Charlotte’s third run of the inning. The Bulls got a run back in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI double by Casey Gillaspie, but the Knights battled right back in the bottom of the fourth inning to add to their lead.
Yoan Moncada -- Major League Baseball’s top prospect -- singled home two runs in the fourth, which put the Knights ahead by a score of 5-2. The Knights tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fourth on a Danny Hayes sacrifice fly RBI. At that point, Charlotte possessed a 6-2 lead.
Volstad (1-2, 6.43) allowed a two-run home run to Jake Bauers in the sixth inning with no outs, but settled down to record the final three outs in the inning. In all, Volstad gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings and earned his first win of the 2017 season. Appearing in his ninth game of the season and making his fourth start, Volstad struck-out five batters on Monday for the win.
With the Knights ahead by a score of 6-4, the Charlotte bullpen continued its strong pitching in Monday’s opener. RHP Juan Minaya threw two scoreless innings to preserve the two-run lead. In the ninth, RHP Zack Burdi walked one and gave up one hit, but recorded the three outs needed to shut the door on his fifth save of the year.
Charlotte outfielder Jacob May extended his hit streak to 14-straight games. He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Adam Engel and Roberto Pena also added two hits each in the win.
The Knights will continue their three-game series against the Durham Bulls (Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-2, 3.55) will get the start for the Knights against Durham RHP Brent Honeywell (2-3, 4.05). Pre-game radio coverage of Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. game will begin at 6:50 p.m. on ESPN Charlotte (730 AM) and CharlotteKnights.com. 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.
On Tuesday, the Knights will welcome former Charlotte Hornets Tony Oliva and Minnie Mendoza to BB&T Ballpark to meet fans and sign autographs. Oliva, an eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star, will also throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:05 p.m. game.
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