(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - Backed by a great start on the mound and four towering home runs at the plate, the Charlotte Knights defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 10-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 10,580 at BB&T Ballpark on Friday night.
On the mound for the Knights, Dylan Cease was sharp early, striking out the side in the second inning. The IronPigs then took a 2-0 lead in the third, but the Knights responded in emphatic fashion in the bottom of the inning.
Alcides Escobar led off the inning with his fourth home run of the season to get Charlotte on the board. Three hitters later, Danny Mendick's towering drive nearly hit his photo on the scoreboard in left field for a long solo home run, his eighth of the season, to tie the game. Rehabbing White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez followed with a line drive into the left field stands for his first Knights homer of the season to put the home team in front 4-3 after three.
Lehigh Valley tied the game off Cease in the fifth, but again the Knights wasted little time in responding. Mendick broke the tie with a two-run double to the gap in right-center and he came home to score on a single from Daniel Palka to give the Knights a 6-3 lead after five.
Cease then returned to the mound and finished his night by keeping the IronPigs off the board. Over 6.0 innings, Cease (W, 3-1) gave up three runs while walking one and striking out eight to earn the win.
Escobar added to the Knights lead by grounding a single to center in the bottom of the eighth to score Adam Engel. The next hitter, Paulo Orlando, capped the night's scoring by launching a two-run homer to left, his third with Charlotte, to put Charlotte up 10-3.
In relief, Zach Thompson and Caleb Frare combined to throw 3.0 scoreless innings to finish the win. Offensively, Mendick led the way by going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI while finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Jimenez, Palka, Escobar, and Orlando each recorded two hits in Charlotte's fourth straight win.
Charlotte and Lehigh Valley continue their three-game series on Saturday night. Justin Nicolino (1-1, 5.34) is set to get the start for Charlotte. 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.