Michael Kopech found himself in a duel Friday night.
And baseball's No. 8 prospect, according to MLB.com, responded by tying his season best with 10 punchouts over six frames in Triple-A Charlotte's 2-1 defeat to Lehigh Valley at BB&T Ballpark. Kopech yielded two runs on five hits while walking five.
Video: Kopech picks up 10th K for Knights
The second-ranked White Sox prospect struck out the side in the first and fourth innings and had at least one punchout in every frame but the fifth. He has amassed 80 strikeouts over 59 1/3 innings this season.
After sitting down the side in order in the second on 11 pitches with strikeouts of Danny Ortiz and Logan Moore, Kopech (2-4) walked Alexi Amarista and Collin Cowgill in the next frame and Joey Meneses blooped an RBI single into center after being down 0-2 in the count with two outs. Adron Chambers took a hack at the first pitch he saw after that and sent a can of corn to left to end the threat.
Gameday box score
The 22-year-old made quick work of the fifth, needing just 11 pitches again to work around Cowgill's one-out single and a four-pitch walk to Mitch Walding by getting Meneses to ground into a 5-4-3 double play off a first-pitch changeup that crossed the plate low in the zone.
Kopech received some help from his defense in his final frame. After a leadoff single by Chambers, the right-hander induced Trevor Plouffe to fly out to center on a 2-2 off-speed pitch and got Ortiz swinging again -- this time on a 2-1 fastball over the heart of the plate. But after a single by Moore put runners at first and second for the IronPigs, Amarista drilled a 2-1 pitch for a double into left that scored Chambers. Knights left fielder Alex Presley threw Moore out at the plate to limit the damage.
The Texas native fanned 10 over five frames in his third start of the year on April 20 -- a 4-1 defeat to Indianapolis on the road. His career high is 12, set on July 26, 2017 in Double-A Birmingham's win over Chattanooga.
Presley accounted for all of the Knights' offense with a base hit to left with two outs in the second off southpaw Brandon Leibrandt that scored Johnny Giavotella. Casey Gillaspie was thrown out at home trying to score from first on the play.
Five Lehigh Valley pitchers combined to limit Charlotte to one run on seven hits. Lefty Tom Windle (5-2) was credited with the victory after recording the final out of the fifth on three pitches. He combined with Zac Curtis, Austin Davis and Pedro Beato on 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Beato locked down his 17th save of the season after a clean ninth.