[Game recap provided by Bull's Matt DeMargel.]
Durham, NC - The Bulls put together a four-run first inning and held on for the win over Buffalo, 6-4 Wednesday night. J.J. Furmaniak and Justin Ruggiano each had three hits, while Winston Abreu slammed the door in the ninth for his team leading fifth save.
The offense got things going quickly in the first, as Furmaniak led off the inning with a triple against Bisons starter Tobi Stoner. Matt Joyce brought the runner home with a ground out, giving the left fielder his seventh RBI of the season and giving his team the lead. Chris Richard had an RBI groundout later in the frame and Angel Chavez followed with a clutch two-run single to give Jeremy Hellickson a four-run advantage.
Hellickson came into the game riding a scoreless innings pitched streak of 21. The right-hander struck out eight on the night, but did not have his best stuff working and lasted just 4.2 innings allowing three earned runs on seven hits. The scoreless streak came to a close in the second, as doubles by Mike Cervenak and Andy Green pushed a run across for the Bisons.
The Bulls added a run in the third, as Richard laced a one-out single and Chavez followed with another to put men at first and second. Jose Lobaton stepped to the plate and lined a double the opposite way to right to chase home Richard and make the score 5-1.
Buffalo came back to add two more off Hellickson in the fifth, as Russ Adams hit a one-out solo shot to cut it to a three run advantage. Three singles would bring home another run for the Bisons, as Cervenak ended Hellickson’s night with an RBI single to score Justin Turner. With the go-ahead runs aboard, manager Charlie Montoyo turned to Mike Ekstrom to get out of the jam. The right-hander did his job, striking out Marshall Hubbard to end the threat.
Durham added a run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, and Buffalo matched it with a single run in the seventh on a solo blast by Mike Jacobs. The play on the field was initially ruled an inside-the-park homer as the ball bounced back into play, but the replay showed the ball left the field of play.
Buffalo wouldn’t score again, as R.J. Swindle worked 1.1 scoreless innings while striking out three. Abreu took the hill in the ninth, setting the Bisons down despite putting two men aboard to earn the save and close out the Bulls third straight victory. Ekstrom (3-0) earned the win for Durham, as the team improves to 12 games over .500 for the season with a record of 36-24.
The two teams take the field again tomorrow night in a 7:05 showdown at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. LHP Heath Phillips (5-4 4.02) looks for his second straight quality start as he is matched up against RHP Dylan Owen (2-1 6.14) for Buffalo.