Durham Bulls

Durham Bulls are International League champions. Triple-A title battle up next.

Durham Bulls' Jake Bauers (right), shown here celebrating with Willy Adames (27) during a June 2017 game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, was named most valuable player of the International League finals Friday night as the Bulls won the league championship.
Durham Bulls' Jake Bauers (right), shown here celebrating with Willy Adames (27) during a June 2017 game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, was named most valuable player of the International League finals Friday night as the Bulls won the league championship. The Herald-Sun

The Durham Bulls have once again captured the International League title. Now they’ll seek to add their second Triple-A national championship.

The Bulls beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 6-4, Friday night at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., in the fourth game of the International League championship series.

Durham wins the series 3-1, giving the Bulls their fifth International League Governor’s Cup win in 20 years as a Triple-A franchise. The Bulls, the Tampa Bay Rays’ top farm team, also won International League championships in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2013.

The Bulls will stay in Pennsylvannia, awaiting the Pacific Coast League champions for Tuesday night’s Triple-A national championship game at PNC Field. Memphis leads El Paso 2-1 in the PCL finals with game four of the best-of-five series set for Saturday night in El Paso, Texas.

Durham won its only previous Triple-A national championship in 2009 when it defeated Memphis in the title game.

In Friday night’s International League clincher, Durham built a 6-1 lead and held off a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rally.

The Bulls fell behind early in the game, as the RailRiders took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Miguel Andujar in the third inning. The deficit proved to be short lived however, as Durham bounced back for three runs the next half inning.

One-out singles by Willy Adames and Jake Bauers put two men aboard before Patrick Leonard walked to load the bases. One out later, Daniel Robertson lined a two-RBI single to right that also saw Leonard score on an error by RailRiders’ catcher Kyle Higashioka for a 3-1 Bulls’ lead.

Durham extended its lead over the next two innings, with an RBI double by Adames in the fifth and a two-run home run from Robertson in the sixth pushing the road team’s lead to 6-1. Scranton/WB began to creep back in the game from there, using an RBI groundout by Jake Cave in the bottom of the sixth, and a bases loaded, RBI walk from Higashioka in the seventh to cut the score to 6-3.

The RailRiders then made it a two-run game in the eighth when a throwing error by Robertson at third base allowed a run to score and put runners on the corners with two outs. Reliever Diego Castillo was able to get the Bulls out of the jam and finish off the game however, as he recorded the final five outs.

Reliever Hunter Woods (1-0) earned the win after recording a single out, while Castillo picked up the save with 1 2/3 perfect innings out of the bullpen with two strikeouts.

Robertson paced the Bulls, going 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI, while Kean Wong finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored.

Durham’s Jake Bauers was named the Governors’ Cup most valuable player after going 1-for-5 Friday night to finish the Finals with a .412 average.

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