[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
Durham plated two in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 7-6 lead, but a three-run blast from Syracuse’s Justin Maxwell in the top of the ninth deals Durham a heartbreaking 9-7 loss to the Chiefs Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Maxwell connected on Bulls reliever Joe Nelson’s 3-2 pitch, hooking the ball around the foul pole for the game winning homer.
This would come after Durham rallied from being down as many as four runs. With the score 6-2 heading into the sixth, the Bulls got one run from a John Jaso bases-loaded sacrifice fly, scoring Rhyne Hughes from third. One batter later and with runners on second and third, Elliot Johnson ripped a base-clearing triple to bring the Bulls within one at 6-5.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Bulls tied the game at 6-6 with a double to left from Reid Brignac, scoring pinch-runner Desmond Jennings from third. Matt Joyce came up next and gave the Bulls the go-ahead run with an RBI-single to center, scoring Brignac.
After Maxwell’s homer in the ninth, the Bulls failed to rally a second time. Syracuse pitcher Zack Segoia came in and closed Durham out in order with two punchouts and a groundout to end the game.
Nelson (0-1) picked up the loss after taking the mound in the ninth and allowing two hits, including the three-run homer, with a walk and a strikeout. Yunio Novoa (1-0) picked up the win with just one-third innings of work, allowing a hit with one strikeout.
The Bulls’ four-game series with Syracuse is now tied at 1-1 with the next game coming on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Durham right-hander Wade Davis (9-7) will face off against Chiefs righty Marcos Estraded (6-4) in hopes in securing a series lead for their respective teams.