(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - The Charlotte Knights fell behind early and ultimately were beaten 9-3 by the Gwinnett Stripers on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark in the second game of their four-game series.
The visitors gained a quick advantage behind solo home runs from Adam Duvall and Rafael Ortega over the first two innings against Knights starter Justin Nicolino (L, 6-4).
Charlotte got a run back in the bottom of the third on Luis Robert's RBI double to deep center field, scoring Seby Zavala to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Gwinnett regained the two-run lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Jack Lopez. But the Knights responded with Zavala's solo home run, his 13th of the season, to make it 3-2 Stripers after five.
However, the Stripers pulled away with three runs in the sixth off Nicolino and three more off reliever Zach Thompson in the seventh to extend their lead to 9-2.
Danny Mendick's 11th home run of the season, a solo shot to left, got the Knights a run closer in the seventh, but that would be the final run of the night for either side.
Offensively, Zavala went 2-for-4 with two runs for the Knights while Robert's double gives him eight RBI over his first two Triple-A games.
On the mound, Nicolino was saddled with the loss after giving up six earned runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Thompson gave up three runs with three strikeouts over 1.2 innings from the bullpen. Jordan Guerrero then struck out three over 2.0 scoreless innings.
The Knights and Stripers continue their series on Saturday night. Odrisamer Despaigne (3-3, 3.12) is scheduled to start for the Knights. Pregame 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.