Charlotte (80-57) grabbed three unearned runs to start the scoring in the third inning. With two outs and Greg Golson on first base, shortstop Carlos Sanchez bounced a ground ball to first base that Chris Marrero couldn't handle, with the error putting runners at first and second against Tanner Roark. Conor Jackson then followed up with a double to right field on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Golson for the game's first run. First baseman Dan Johnson would follow with a two-run double in the left-center field alley, and the Knights took a 3-0 lead into the fourth.
In that frame, Syracuse (65-72) finally cracked the scoreboard against starter Deunte Heath. Chris Marrero singled and Sandy Leon walked to start the inning before Heath recorded a pair of strikeouts. But second baseman Josh Johnson followed with an RBI single to center field, cutting the lead to 3-1.
The Knights, however, would answer. In the bottom of the inning, Hector Gimenez singled with no outs and Jared Mitchell doubled with one out. Golson then delivered a double to right field, scoring both runners for a 5-1 lead.
The Chiefs added a sixth-inning run when Jesus Valdez singled in Leon with two outs against left-hander Daniel Moskos.
But Charlotte would counter with an eighth-inning score against Mike MacDougal. With one out, Brent Morel singled in Gimenez on a base hit to center field, providing the game's final score.
Syracuse and Charlotte will resume their series with the second game of a four-game set on Tuesday night at 7:15. Chiefs left-hander Zach Duke is scheduled to throw against Knights left-hander Charlie Leesman.