(LAWRENCEVILLE, GA) - Behind a strong start and effective work from the bullpen, the Charlotte Knights earned a 3-1 over the Gwinnett Stripers on the finale of their three-game series on Thursday night at Coolray Field.
In the top of the second, Zack Collins and Paulo Orlando began the inning with back-to-back singles. With two outs and the runners now at second and third, Ryan Goins lined a single to center to plate the pair of runs, giving the Knights an early 2-0 lead. That would be all the support Charlotte starter Dylan Cease needed.
In similar fashion, the Stripers put runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the second. But Cease kept the home team off the board by recording a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to end the inning with Charlotte still up a pair.
Cease was at his best in the fourth, as he struck out the side in order. The Stripers did get on the board in the fifth on Rafael Ortega's RBI double, but he was out trying to stretch it to a triple as the Knights held on to a one-run lead.
An inning later, the Stripers tried to be aggressive on the bases, but it backfired. On a pitch in the dirt, Andres Blanco tried to go from second to third, but was thrown out by Collins. Later in the inning, Cease struck out Alex Jackson to end the threat with the tying run on second.
Pitching in his home state of Georgia, Cease (W, 4-1) gave his friends and family in the stands something to cheer about by holding the Stripers to one run on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts over 6.0 innings for his team-leading fourth win of the season.
Alcides Escobar added a key insurance run for Charlotte in the eighth with a solo home run down the left field line, his fifth of the season, to restore the Knights' two-run lead.
Carson Fulmer was first out of the bullpen and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings to hold the lead. In the ninth, Connor Walsh (S, 1) induced a game-ending double play to finish the win and earn his first Charlotte save of the season. The victory gave Charlotte a series win after taking two of three games at Coolray Field.
The Knights return home on Friday night to start a four-game series against the Durham Bulls 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.