(DURHAM, NC) - An early lead proved to be just enough for the Charlotte Knights to beat the Durham Bulls 4-3 in the opener of their three-game series on Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
From nearly the first pitch of the night, the Knights held the lead. Adam Engel began the game with a single to right. The next hitter, Danny Mendick laced a double into the right field corner, scoring Engel to put the Knights ahead 1-0 just five pitches into the game.
The score doubled in the second as Paulo Orlando crossed the plate on Ryan Goins' single to right. The next inning, Yermin Mercedes crushed a solo home run over the Blue Monster in left field, his third big fly with the Knights, to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the fourth, Ryan Goins reached with a two-out double to center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He came around to score on Engel's single, giving the Knights a 4-0 advantage.
On the mound, Dylan Covey was dominant from the start. The rehabbing White Sox pitcher didn't allow a base runner over 4.0 perfect innings, striking out six to keep the visitors in front.
Durham got on the board in the bottom of the sixth on a balk from Knights reliever Matt Foster (W, 3-1). But the Charlotte reliever rebounded to limit the damage to only the one run over 2.0 innings on the mound to earn the victory.
Thyago Vieira entered in the seventh and the Bulls scored twice to trim their deficit to 4-3. However, Vieira got out of the jam by striking out Jake Cronenworth to end the inning with the tying run on second base.
Up 4-3 in the eighth, the Knights turned to Jimmy Cordero (S, 3) from the bullpen. The righty gave the Knights exactly what they were looking for by throwing 2.0 scoreless innings to finish the win and earn the save, his third since joining the Knights on June 7.
Offensively, the Knights were led by their All-Star as Goins went 3-for-3 with a double, run scored, and an RBI. Engel went 2-for-3 and stole his 10th base of the season in the win.
The Knights and Bulls continue their series on Tuesday night. Donny Roach (2-3, 9.44) is expected to start for the Knights. Pre-game radio 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.