Press release provided by Charlotte Knights.
(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) – Behind a pair of offensive explosions and two great pitching performances, the Charlotte Knights beat the Louisville Bats by scores of 11-4 and 7-6 to sweep a doubleheader on Saturday at BB&T Ballpark.
The wins give the Knights a season-high five-game winning streak, a 41-33 record, and an International League leading 27-13 record at home.
After three innings, the Knights broke the scoreless stalemate in the fourth inning of the first game. Ryan Goins’ got the scoring started on a fly ball that barely cleared the fence in left-center for a three-run home run, his sixth of the season, to give Charlotte a 3-0 lead.
Over the next few innings, the Knights extended the lead on Adam Engel’s RBI single in the fifth and a two-run double from Yermin Mercedes in the sixth to give Charlotte a 5-1 lead. That would be enough support for the Knights’ pitching staff.
Veteran southpaw Justin Nicolino (W, 5-3) delivered a clutch performance for the Knights on the mound. He tied the longest outing of a season by a Knights starter by throwing 8.0 innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts to earn the win.
Up 7-4 in the 8th, the Knights broke the game open for good with four more runs on Matt Skole’s bases-loaded walk, Daniel Palka’s sacrifice fly, and Alcides Escobar’s two-run double to increase the lead to 11-4, the eventual final.
In the nightcap, the long ball was working for Charlotte. Palka’s 16th home run of the season, a two-run blast to left-center, gave the Knights an early 2-1 lead.
Danny Mendick broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth with a solo home run, his 10th of the season to give Charlotte the lead. An inning later, Skole’s towering fly ball down the right field line stayed fair for a solo home run, his team-leading 19th of the season, to double the Charlotte lead. Later in the inning, Seby Zavala launched a home run of his own to left, also his 10th of the season, to give Charlotte a 6-3 lead.
Escobar added a run with a RBI single in the seventh, and the Knights would need every run they scored.
Making his first Triple-A start, Charlotte lefty Kyle Kubat (W, 1-0) was sharp. Over 5.0 innings, he gave up three earned runs on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. After he exited, the Bats trimmed the Charlotte lead to 7-6 in the eighth, but they would get no closer. In the ninth, Thyago Vieira (S, 5) shut the door with a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the save, his team-leading fifth of the season.
The Knights begin a quick two-game road series against the Durham Bulls on Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Ross Detwiler (1-3, 3.73) is scheduled 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.