(NORFOLK, VA) - The Charlotte Knights began their final series of the regular season with a 2-0 loss to the Norfolk Tides in a pitcher's duel on Friday night at Harbor Park in the opener of their four-game set.
The loss drops the Knights into a tie with the Durham Bulls atop the International League Wild Card standings. Both teams currently own a record of 74-62 with three games remaining in the regular season.
Norfolk struck first in the bottom of the second as Zach Vincej walked off Charlotte starter Matt Tomshaw to put a runner on with two outs. Former Knight Jose Rondon then drove a double to center, scoring Vincej all the way from first with the game's first run.
That would be the only run Tomshaw (L, 4-2) surrendered. Over 4.0 innings, he gave up the run on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts to keep the game close.
In relief, rehabbing White Sox right-hander Carson Fulmer threw 1.2 clean innings with two strikeouts and Matt Foster kept the deficit at one with 1.1 scoreless frames of his own.
However, the Knights offense was unable to produce against Norfolk starter Chandler Shepherd. The Tides right-hander earned his second straight win over the Knights by tossing 8.0 scoreless innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Tides doubled the lead in the bottom of the eighth as Austin Hays came home on a passed ball to make it 2-0 Norfolk.
In the ninth, the Knights threatened as Luis Robert singled and Yermin Mercedes walked to put the tying runs on base. But in his Knights debut, Damek Tomscha stuck out to end the game and strand the runners.
Robert, Tomshca, and Ramon Torres each singled to combine for Charlotte's three hits while Zack Collins drew a pair of walks in the loss.
The Knights and Tides meet again on Saturday night. 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.