[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
After falling behind 3-0, the Bulls rallied for eight unanswered runs to claim game one of the first round of the International League playoffs, 8-4 over the Louisville Bats Wednesday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Louisville got on the board first in the second inning with a two-run home run from Juan Francisco over the wall in left-center off Bulls starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson was taken deep again in the fourth inning, this time from Chris Denove for a solo homerun to make the score 3-0.
Hellickson lasted five and two-third innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits, including two long balls, three walks and 12 strikeouts. Wednesday’s start marks the third time in his last four starts, that the 22-year-old hurler has reached double digits in strikeouts.
The Bulls plated three runs on four hits and two Bats’ errors in the fifth inning to tie the game. Ray Olmedo scored the first run on a throwing error from Bats pitcher Travis Wood on a would-be force out from Joe Dillon. Back-to-back singles from Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez drove in the next two Bulls runs.
Durham was able to put some space between itself and Louisville with a five-run sixth inning. Olmedo started the hit parade with a triple to right-center field. Two batters later, Rashad Eldridge drove Olmedo home with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. A ground-rule double from Dillon scored Eldridge. That was followed by another double from Matt Joyce which plated Dillon. After stealing second, Joyce was driven home by Rodriguez. The scoring ended with a Justin Ruggiano single scoring Rodriguez as the Bulls took an 8-3 lead.
The Bats were only able to plate one run in response as they fell to the Bulls. Joe Bateman picked up the first postseason win for Durham with one and one-third shutout innings. Federico Baez took the loss after allowing five earned runs on five hits in the sixth.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Thursday as righty Mitch Talbot (4-4, 4.47) takes the mound for Durham against Lefty Ben Jukich (9-6, 4.10) with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.