[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
In his Triple-A debut, Bulls starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson put up a quality performance complemented with some Bulls long balls and solid relief from the bullpen to put Durham on top 4-2 over Norfolk Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Hellickson (1-0) picked up the win after tossing six innings in which the 22-year-old gave up two earned runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts. This came the same day after his call up from Double-A Montgomery.
The Bulls came out of the gates swinging, connecting on four hits in the first inning which was highlighted by a Justin Ruggiano two-run homer well over the Blue Monster in right to put the Bulls up 2-0.
A bases loaded walk from John Jaso added another run in the third to increase Durham’s lead to 3-0.
The Tides answered back in the next two innings. In the fourth, a RBI single from Brandon Snyder putting them on the board for the first time of the night. They then cut Durham’s lead to 3-2 in the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Jeff Fiorentino scoring Robby Hammock from third.
Chris Richard put the game out of reach in the eighth with a solo shot to left making the score 4-2 in favor of the Bulls.
Jason Childers took the mound to close down the Tides in the ninth inning to pick up the save, his first of the year. Childers along with reliever John Meloan, who tossed two shutout innings, kept Norfolk scoreless allowing only one total hit.
With the win, the Bulls took a half game lead over Norfolk for first place in the International League South Division. With Gwinnett’s win over Lehigh Valley, Durham, Norfolk and Gwinnett are now all within a half game of each other for first place in that division.
The Bulls will look to separate themselves from the pack tomorrow in a day-night double header against Norfolk with the first game scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and the second game at 7:05 p.m. Lefty James Houser (4-4) will take the mound for the afternoon game followed by fellow left-hander Carlos Hernandez to start for Durham tomorrow night.