(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - Behind three towering home runs and just enough timely pitching, the Charlotte Knights earned a series win over the Gwinnett Stripers with a 6-5 victory on Wednesday night at BB&T Ballpark.
In the bottom of the second, Charlotte got the scoring started on Matt Skole's 415-foot solo shot off the batter's eye in dead center field for a 1-0 Knights lead.
Gwinnett tied the game in the third on Luis Marte's homer off Charlotte starter Odrisamer Despaigne. But that would be all the Cuban right-hander would allow.
The Knights regained the lead on Alcides Escobar's two-run double off the left field wall in the fourth. From there, Despaigne held the Stripers off the board.
Over 6.0 strong innings, Despaigne gave up one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a quality start. However, the Stripers evened the score off reliever Caleb Frare in the top of the seventh.
Carson Fulmer kept the score tied 3-3 with a clean top of the eighth. In the bottom half, Gwinnett reliever A.J. Minter quickly retired the first two Knights.
With two outs and nobody on base, Skole crushed Minter's offering for a long solo home run, his second of the night, to give the Knights a 4-3 lead. Zack Collins followed with a single to keep the inning alive. Seby Zavala then provided the decisive blow with a 423-foot blast to center, a two-run shot for his seventh home run of the season, giving the Knights a 6-3 lead.
The Stripers cut the deficit to 6-5 in the ninth off Fulmer (W, 1-0), but the righty rebounded to finish the victory and earn his first win of the season.
Skole's two home runs give him 17 on the season, which is tied for the International League lead. Escobar and Zavala each drove in a pair of runs as well while Collins and Adam Engel both recorded two hits as the Knights won two out of three over their IL South rivals.
The Knights begin a four-game series with the Louisville Bats on Thursday night. Justin Nicolino (3-1, 4.44) is set to start for Charlotte. Pre-game radio coverage of the 7:04 p.m. game is set for 6:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte. 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.