Press release provided by the Charlotte Knights
COLUMBUS, OH – With their biggest offensive inning of the season, the Charlotte Knights jumped out to a large early lead and never looked back in a 12-5 win over the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday night at Huntington Park in the opener of their three-game series.
The Knights showed patience early at the plate, and it paid off. Daniel Palka, Matt Skole and Zack Collins each drew one-out walks to load the bases in the first. In his first game with the Knights after being optioned on Monday, Adam Engel got the scoring started with a two-run double off the base of the center field wall. The next hitter, Alcides Escobar doubled the lead with a two-run double of his own. Preston Tucker drove in Escobar with an RBI single then scored on a double from Ryan Goins as the Knights batted around.
In his second at-bat of the opening inning, Danny Mendick launched a two-run homer to left, his sixth of the season to give the Knights an 8-0 first-inning lead they would not relinquish. The eight runs in the first are the most the Knights have scored in any inning this season.
Making his Knights debut on the mound after being signed by the White Sox earlier in the week, Justin Nicolino gave up four runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Zach Thompson (W, 2-1) relieved him with runners on the corners and one out in the fifth with the Knights up 9-4 and immediately produced a strikeout and ground out to end the inning and strand the runners.
Escobar added to the lead with an RBI single in the sixth. In the eighth, Palka crushed a solo home run over the right field scoreboard for his fifth home run of the season, including four in the last five games to put the game out of reach.
For the Knights, Engel led the way offensively by going 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Escobar was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI while Mendick also contributed three RBI. Tucker, Goins, and Joel Booker also recorded multi-hit games in the win.
Thompson earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen with two strikeouts. Thyago Vieira struck out four and gave up one run in 2.0 innings and Matt Foster finished the win with a clean ninth inning.
The Knights and Clippers continue their series on Wednesday night at Huntington Park. Jordan Guerrero (1-3, 8.88) is scheduled to get the start for the Knights.