Press release provided by Charlotte Knights.
(TOLEDO, OH) – Behind their best pitching performance of the season, the Charlotte Knights defeated the Toledo Mud Hens 4-0 in the opener of their three-game series at Fifth Third Field on Friday night.
Making his fifth start for the Knights, veteran lefty Justin Nicolino twirled a gem. From his first pitch to his last, he baffled the Mud Hens’ bats over 8.0 innings to earn second win with Charlotte and third overall.
The offense would provide him plenty of support. After being shut out twice in Indianapolis, the Knights wasted no time getting on the board on Friday. Adam Engel led off the game with a towering 446-foot solo home run to left, his fourth of the season, to give the Knights a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
From there, Nicolino took over. In the first, he issued a one-out walk to Mikie Mahtook. That would all the Toledo offense produced for a while.
Following the walk, Nicolino retired 19 Mud Hens in a row to keep Charlotte in front. He was at his best in the second and fourth innings, striking out the side in order in each frame.
In the seventh, Dustin Peterson recorded Toledo’s first hit with a fly ball off the right field wall, but he was out trying to stretch a single to a double behind a strong throw from Paulo Orlando.
Charlotte added to the lead in the sixth on a Daniel Palka RBI single and Matt Skole doubled in two more with a double in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Nicolino (W, 3-1) rebounded from giving up the hit by retiring the Mud Hens in order in the eighth to end his night. Over 8.0 scoreless innings, he gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out eight. Thyago Vieira gave up a hit but finished the two-hit shutout with a scoreless ninth.
Offensively, Engel and Orlando each recorded a pair of hits in the win as Charlotte improved to 29-23 on the season.
The Knights and Mud Hens continue their series on Saturday night. Ross Detwiler (1-1, 3.71) is set to start for the Knights. Pre-game radio coverage of the 7:05 p.m. game is set for 6:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte. The “Voice of the Charlotte Knights” Matt Swierad will have the call for all of the action.