The Game: The Durham Bulls dropped their home opener 6-4 to the Norfolk Tide on Thursday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Bulls rallied in the ninth but fell two run short.
Norfolk jumped out to a four run lead in the first inning. Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar led off the inning with back to back walks. Lou Montanez followed with a double to left to score Gathright. Scott Moore then singled to center, scoring Salazar. Montanez scored on a passed ball for the third run of the inning. Rhyne Hughes then plated Moore to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.
The Bulls reached the scoreboard in the third inning. Elliot Johnson singled on a bunt to lead off the inning. Johnson would later score on a single by Hank Blalock for the Bulls first run of the game.
The Bulls added another run in the fourth inning. Dan Johnson hit his third home run of the season to cut the lead in half 4-2.
Norfolk extended their lead in the sixth inning. Brandon Snyder singled to second to lead off the inning. Snyder would later score on a triple by Robert Andino. Andino would then score on an RBI single by Joey Gathright to increase the lead 6-2.
The Bulls rallied in the ninth inning. Chris Richard reached on error to get the rally started. Elliot Johnson singled to right, moving Richard to third. Rashad Eldridge drew a walk to load the bases for Durham. Justin Ruggiano drove home the first run with a single to left. Hank Blalock knocked home the second run with an RBI single. But the Bulls would leave them loaded and take a 6-4 loss.
Jeff Bennett suffered the loss, allowing 2 runs on no hits with 2 walks before being pulled without recording an out. Brian Baker pitched 4 1/3 innings with 2 runs (1 earned) with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. Richard De Los Santos pitched threw 4 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks. Heath Rollins threw the last 2/3 shut-out innings and struck out 1.
Bulls Player of the Game: Justin Ruggiano; 2 for 4 with a RBI and a walk.
RP Top Prospect Watch: n/a
A Look Ahead: The Bulls take on Norfolk again on Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Virgil Vasquez will start for Durham (1-0, 1.59) will face Troy Patton (0-1, 3.38) for Norfolk.