Through his first three starts of the season, Charlotte Knights right-hander Reynaldo Lopez struggled to find the stuff that made him one of baseball's most promising pitching prospects.
Lopez went 0-1 during that stretch, registering a 5.02 ERA over 14 1/3 innings. He also surrendered four home runs.
But since then, Lopez has been dominant, winning five straight starts before earning a no-decision in an impressive performance on Sunday against the Norfolk Tides.
Over his past six starts, Lopez is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA and has allowed just one homer.
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Monday: Trailing the Durham Bulls 1-0, the Knights answered with three runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by Nicky Delmonico's two-run homer. Yoan Moncada drove in two runs in the fourth, giving Charlotte a 5-2 cushion en route to a 6-4 win.
Tuesday: In a matchup between two of baseball's best pitching prospects, Lopez won his fifth straight start, allowing three hits over five shutout innings. Carson Blair’s fifth-inning homer accounted for one of the four runs scored off Durham’s Brent Honeywell, the losing pitcher in Charlotte’s 5-3 win.
Wednesday: Carson Fulmer’s hot streak came to an end, as he was saddled with his first loss since April 12 after allowing eight runs (seven earned) across 4 2/3 innings. The Knights ultimately suffered a 9-2 loss, snapping their season-high six-game winning streak.
Thursday: Adam Engel’s two-run home run in the first gave Charlotte an early 2-0 lead, which it padded with an RBI single by Jacob May in the fourth. However, the Tides rallied to tie the game and ultimately secured a 4-3 win on an RBI single by Johnny Giavotella in the seventh.
Friday: Everth Cabrera went 3-for-4, with his biggest hit coming in the top of the seventh. With the score tied at 1, he registered an RBI single before Ryan Raburn drove in another run two batters later to give the Knights a 3-1 win.
Saturday: After trailing 1-0, Charlotte scored two runs in the second on a Cody Asche home run. The Knights maintained their lead entering the ninth, when Norfolk tallied two runs off Matt Purke, snapping his scoreless innings streak at 17 2/3 and handing Charlotte an 8-7 loss.
Sunday: The Knights trailed 3-2 entering the ninth, when Asche tied the game on a sacrifice fly. Three innings later, Delmonico secured a 5-3, extra-inning victory on a two-run homer.
What's next: Charlotte returns to BB&T Ballpark for a seven-game homestand, starting with Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. contest against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Pat James: @patjames24