Sunday, April 18, 2010

Durham Bulls 7, Norfolk Tides 2

[Via email from Matt DeMargel, the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations.]

Durham, NC - The Bulls combination of power and speed was enough to stem the Tides 7-2 Saturday afternoon at the DBAP. Justin Ruggiano and Elliot Johnson blasted their first home runs of the season and Carlos Hernandez allowed one earned run in six innings of work as the Bulls improve to 7-3 on the season.

Norfolk took advantage of a slow start by Hernandez in the first inning, as Robert Andino singled and later advanced to third on a errant pickoff attempt by the Bulls left-hander. Former Bull Rhyne Hughes brought the run across with an RBI-single and put the Bulls in an early 1-0 hole.

The Bulls offense took over in the fourth inning, adding at least one run in every inning thereafter. They tallied single runs in the fourth and fifth on the solo blast by Ruggiano and and an RBI-double by Elliot Johnson. Then in the sixth, a sacrifice fly by Ryan Shealy and an RBI-double by Chris Richard brought across two more runs to extend the lead to 4-1.

Shealy brought home a run in the seventh with an RBI-single, and the Bulls struck for their final two runs in the eighth on Johnson’s two-run blast to make the score 7-1. Johnson got off to a 1-for-25 start after the first seven games of the season, but has put together seven hits in his last 15 at bats over the last three games.

Hernandez held the Tides in check after the first inning, walking one and striking out five before departing after 6.0 solid innings. He picked up his first victory of the season, as the Bulls bullpen took control. Heath Rollins picked up his second hold of the season, allowing one earned run in two innings of work. Winston Abreu took the ball in the ninth and slammed the door, striking out two while walking one in his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance to start the 2010 campaign.

Over the first three games of this series, the Bulls have stolen eight bases and slugged six home runs against the Tides pitching. Their 42 hits in the series has raised the team batting average to .268 for the season.

The two teams close out the series tomorrow as two top prospects square off. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.59 ERA) takes the hill for the Bulls, and he will be matched up against righty Chris Tillman (0-2, 5.19) for the Tides. Game time is set for 5:05 p.m. Tickets are available at or by phone at (919) 687-6516.

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