[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Desmond Jennings was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday, as Durham started an important road trip with a 9-2 win over Syracuse.
Jennings, playing his first game in left field for Durham with Fernando Perez starting in center on MLB rehab, homered with one out in the first for a 1-0 lead off Shairon Martis (3-3). Later in the frame Matt Joyce was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Justin Ruggiano foiled the strategy with a two-run double to left for a 3-0 lead.
Jennings hit a sac fly in the second for a 4-0 advantage, and Ray Olmedo added an RBI hit for a 5-0 lead in the third. Henry Mateo delivered a two-out RBI triple in the fifth off Martis and then scored on an errant relay throw for a 7-0 lead.
Syracuse did make a small charge in the sixth against Jason Cromer (6-3). After a seeing-eye single by Ian Desmond plated a run, Cromer was replaced by Calvin Medlock. Pinch-hitter Kory Casto walked to force home a run, and make it 7-2, but Medlock got Norris Hopper to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Durham answered with two in the seventh, the first on an RBI double by Jennings for the final margin. The Bulls remain three games behind Gwinnett in the division race with 16 left. However, Durham moved 2.5 games ahead of Syracuse and 4.0 in front of Norfolk in the wildcard race.
The Bulls collected 14 hits, as each player in the lineup had at least one. Jennings drove in three runs and Mateo scored three for Durham (71-57).
Game two of four against Syracuse is on Sunday at 5:05. Wade Davis (10-7) starts against fellow righty Marcos Estrada (8-4). Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio begins at 4:45.