A bittersweet — mostly sweet — homer for Justin Christian in 8-1 win for the Durham Bulls.
Durham earns series split behind solid pitching
BULLS FALL BELOW .500 FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 2012, NOW 1-2
The Durham Bulls fell to the Gwinnett Braves 4-1 Saturday evening at the DBAP, falling below .500 for the first time since 2012.
After playing the entire 2013 season above the .500 mark, Durham fell to Gwinnett (2-1) behind a pair of home runs. After three no-hit innings, the Braves finally got to Bulls starter Matt Andriese with three straight hits in the fourth, the final one a three-run dinger off the bat of Mark Hamilton.
Durham (1-2) scored its first run of the contest in the fifth frame, when Jerry Sands walked and Kevin Kiermaier singled. After a sac bunt from Ray Olmedo, Eddy Rodriguez notched his first RBI of the season on a groundout to second base, scoring Sands for a 3-1 tally.
However the Braves took back a three-run lead in the eighth when Ernesto Mejia cracked his league-leading fourth dinger of the season, a solo shot, over the left field wall.
Daniel Rodriguez (1-0) earned the win, surrendering one run on two hits in five innings while striking out nine. DEVELOPING STORY ...
As in Thursday night's opener, Bulls fall far behind and rally to make it interesting in the sixth but unlike that 7-6 comeback win, a 3-run Gwinnett eighth is too much for the Bulls on Friday in 12-7 defeat.
BULLS THUNDER BACK FROM 6-2 DEFICIT ON 3 HRS TO WIN OPENER
Last September, when Jerry Sands’ last played in Durham, he wore a different uniform and the ballpark that looked distinctly different.
Success via the long ball, though, bracketed both games.
In his first game with the Bulls Thursday night after playing with Indianapolis last season, Sands reached base four times and blasted a home run as Durham rallied to beat Gwinnett 7-6 at the renovated Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
A season-opening night crowd of 9,483 watched Sands, a former star at Smithfield-Selma High School, go 3 for 3 with a homer, double, single and a walk while scoring three times.
“If he comes through, he’s going to help us a lot,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He struggled last year in Indy but he has a history of hitting. I know he’s happy playing here because he’s from the area.”
A .207 hitter with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A team in Indianapolis last season, Sands did have one shining night in an Indians uniform. It came Sept. 5 in the second game of Durham’s three-game International League playoff sweep of Indianapolis when Sands smacked two home runs and collected three hits.
When the Bulls play Gwinnett tonight in their season-opening game at 6:05 p.m. tonight (Thursday, April 3), guys like Vince Belnome, Kevin Kiermaier and Cole Figueroa will be surrounded by new teammates as they aim to win another International League championship.
More than 100 people auditioned to perform the National Anthem during the Durham Bulls 2014 season. Video by The Herald-Sun | Christine T. Nguyen
The Durham Bulls will have a renovated ballpark and a revamped roster in 2014, but the coaching staff is one thing that will stay the same.
The Bulls announced Monday that Charlie Montoyo, the reigning International League Manager of the Year, will return for his eighth season in Durham.
Durham Bulls stepping out with new style in 2014
If you’ve been by the Durham Bulls Athletic Park recently, you’ve seen feverish activity even though it is the off-season.
The Bulls announced their 2014 schedule on Monday and it shows the team beginning defense of their International League Governor’s Cup championship with an eight-game season-opening homestand.
Jose Lobaton, a catcher with the Durham Bulls in 2010 and 2011, hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning into the giant fish tank beyond the center-field wall, and Tampa Bay staved off elimination once again by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Monday night.
The Durham Bulls lost to the Omaha Storm Chasers in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday night, but there was still a celebration around Tim Beckham’s locker. The Durham shortstop was accepting hugs and handshakes from a steady stream of teammates, who punctuated their congratulations with “Going to varsity!” “Going up!” and “Yeah, buddy!”
Every time Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo took someone out of the Triple-A National Championship on Tuesday, he made sure to greet the player with a big hug in the dugout. “You never know if you’re going to see them again or not,” Montoyo said.
The Durham Bulls’ offensive woes finally came back to bite them in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Durham was held to three hits by Omaha starter Chris Dwyer and two relievers, as the Pacific Coast League champion Storm Chasers beat the International League champion Bulls 2-1 on Tuesday night.