(BUFFALO, NY) - In a back-and-forth affair, the Charlotte Knights ultimately suffered a 9-6 loss to the Buffalo Bisons on Wednesday afternoon at Sahlen Field in game three of their four-game series.
For the third straight game, the Knights got on the board in the first inning as Daniel Palka reached with a one-out double and scored on Alcides Escobar's single to center.
Buffalo responded with three runs in the second off Knights starter Justin Nicolino (L, 6-5) to take a 3-1 lead. From there, the teams traded runs in rapid succession.
The Knights got within a run in the fourth on Palka's RBI double to center to score Adam Engel. An inning later, Matt Skole led off the inning with a walk. Yermin Mercedes then shot the Knights back in front with a long two-run homer over the left field fence for a 4-3 Charlotte advantage. The home run is his seventh with the Knights and 13th overall this season.
Bo Bichette's home run with two outs in the bottom of the inning evened the score at 4-4 after 5.
In his first game back with the Knights after being optioned by the Chicago White Sox earlier this week, catcher Zack Collins drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the sixth to retake the Charlotte lead. Danny Mendick added on with an RBI single to right to score Palka, putting the Knights ahead 6-4 in the middle of the sixth.
However, a solo home run from Patrick Kivlehan and Andy Burns' two-run shot gave the Bisons 7-6 lead off Nicolino in the bottom of the frame. Bichette's second home run of the game put Buffalo up 9-6 after seven, and that would be enough.
The Knights loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth in a bid to get even, but Mendick lined out to end the inning and strand the runners.
On the mound, Nicolino took the loss after giving up seven runs, four earned, with four strikeouts over 6.0 innings while Colton Turner gave up two earned runs in 2.0 innings.
Palka went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs to lead the way for Charlotte while Collins drew four walks in his return to the Charlotte lineup. Offensively, the Knights drew a season-high 12 walks in the loss but also left a season-high 14 runners on base.
The Knights and Bisons conclude their series on Thursday night. Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4, 3.52) is set to start on the mound for Charlotte. Pregame 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.