Kopech Fans Eight, Knights Cruise Past Tides 3-1 On Monday At Norfolk

RHP Michael Kopech pitched four shutout innings in his 2018 season debut on Monday. (Steven Goldburg/Norfolk Tides)

By Charlotte Knights | April 9, 2018 11:04 PM ET

(NORFOLK, VA) -- RHP Michael Kopech struck-out eight batters over four shutout innings to help the Charlotte Knights beat the Norfolk Tides by a score of 4-1 in the opening game of their three-game series from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA on Monday. The Knights scored two of their four runs in the first inning and were led by solid pitching on the evening to improve to 3-1 on the season. Four Charlotte pitchers combined on 17 total strikeouts.

Kopech, who is ranked as the number two prospect in the Chicago White Sox system, allowed just two hits and two walks over his four solid innings on Monday. The 21-year-old right-hander threw 77 pitches (51 for strikes) in his fourth career Triple-A start. He made just three starts with the Knights last season after being promoted from Double-A Birmingham.

The Knights got on the scoreboard early on Monday with two runs in the first inning. Third baseman Patrick Leonard drove home Charlotte's first run of the game with an RBI triple. First baseman Casey Gillaspie followed with an RBI single to give the Knights a 2-0 lead before the Tides stepped to the plate.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Knights tacked on to their lead with their third run of the game thanks to shortstop Jose Rondόn, who had a solid day at the plate. Rondόn tripled in the fifth and scored on the play with help from a throwing error by Norfolk's second baseman Luis Sardiñas. Four innings later, Rondόn launched his first home run of the season -- a solo shot off Norfolk reliever Jhan Mariñez. Rondόn finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, triple, and the solo home run.

In relief of Kopech, the Knights used three pitchers to shut down the Tides over the final five innings. RHP Rob Scahill (1-0, 6.00) allowed one run over two innings of work to earn his first win of the 2018 campaign. Scahill struck-out four batters. LHP Robbie Ross Jr. struck-out two batters over 1.1 innings pitched, while RHP Thyago Vieira recorded the final four outs to earn his first save of the season. Vieira struck-out three batters.

Charlotte right fielder Daniel Palka extended his hit-streak to 14-straight games (dating back to August 26, 2017) with a single in the first inning. Outfielder Jacob May swiped his second stolen base of the season and moved into sole possession of fourth place on the Charlotte Knights all-time steals list with 52.

The Knights will continue their three-game series from Norfolk, VA on Tuesday with the middle game of the series. Pre-game radio coverage of Tuesday's 6:35 p.m. matchup will begin at 6:20 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte and CharlotteKnights.com. The "Voice of the Charlotte Knights" Matt Swierad will have the call for all of the action. LHP T.J. House will get the start for the Knights against Norfolk RHP Jimmy Yacobonis.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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