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Knights Drop Finale In Durham 5-1

Santiago strikes out seven in return to Charlotte
Adam Engel drove in the Knights' only run on Tuesday. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)
June 25, 2019

(DURHAM, NC) - The Charlotte Knights couldn't overcome a late Durham Bulls rally in a 5-1 loss to their in-state foes in the finale of their two-game series on Tuesday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

(DURHAM, NC) - The Charlotte Knights couldn't overcome a late Durham Bulls rally in a 5-1 loss to their in-state foes in the finale of their two-game series on Tuesday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

With the score tied 1-1 in the eighth, the Knights turned to Thyago Vieira (L, 3-2) to keep the score even. However, he hit Brendan McKay with a pitch to start his outing. Two hitters later, Jake Cronenworth's single put the Bulls in front. Three more hits, including a two-run homer from Nate Lowe, increased the Durham lead to 5-1, the eventual final.
The game began well for Charlotte, as starter Héctor Santiago, signed as a free agent by the Chicago White Sox last week, was sharp from the outset. The veteran recorded all three outs with the strikeout in the opening inning before recording two more in the second, but Durham scored in that second frame to lead 1-0.
From there, Santiago held the Bulls off the board to keep the game close. In his first start with the Knights since August 3, 2012, Santiago pitched 5.0 solid innings, giving up one earned run on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts, tying a season-high.
Down 1-0 in the seventh, the Knights came back to even the score. Seby Zavala reached with a single to center and Danny Mendick was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with two outs. Adam Engel then looped a single to shallow left field, scoring Zavala from second with the tying run.
In relief of Santiago, Zach Thompson threw 2.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts to keep the game tied going to the eighth. However, Vieira couldn't do the same as the Bulls swept the two-game series.
Offensively, catcher Yermin Mercedes led the way with two hits for Charlotte while Paulo Orlando's double was the Knights' only extra-base hit.
The Knights return home to begin a two-game set against the Gwinnett Stripers on Wednesday night at BB&T Ballpark. 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.