Bull-rush; Durham's 7-run 8th inning stops the Stripers for a 10-2 win and a 3-0 series lead
Preview: Durham Bulls (86-60, 3.5 GB in the International League East) vs Gwinnett Stripers (68-76, 13.5 GB in the International League West)
With September 24, 2023 looming (as the AAA baseball regular season concludes on that day), both the Durham Bulls and Gwinnett Stripers are focused on either getting into the playoffs or finishing the season on a positive note as they prepare for the 3rd game of the regular season ending 6-game series at CoolRay Field.
The Bulls (the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) mathematically have a chance to win the 2nd half division title with 4 games left (including tonight, September 21, 2023). Having taken the first 2 games of the series by a combined 19-2 margin (including yesterday afternoon's 11-0 shutout [click HERE for our recap]), Ruben Cardenas (.270 BA with 22 HR and 80 RBI's), Tristan Gray (.237 BA with 29 HR and 95 RBI's), and Kameron Misner (.230 BA with 21 HR and 58 RBI's) look to continue to put offensive pressure on newly promoted from AA (Mississippi Braves) Luis De Avila (who in 25 starts had a 6-10 record with a 3.28 ERA along with 125 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched/25 games) , who is starting in place of original starter (and highly-rated Braves' prospect) Darius Vines (3-2, 2.36 ERA).
The Stripers (the AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) look to snap their current 3-game winning streak and end Durham's hopes of getting into the post-season. Offensively, they'll look to Braden Shewmake (.236 BA with 16 HR, 68 RBI's, and 27 SB's), Vaughn Grissom (.328 BA, 60 RBI's, and 11 SB's), and Joe Dunand (.261 BA with 17 HR's and 52 RBI's) as they look to give starting pitcher Jacob Lopez (4-5, 2.78 ERA) a challenge and get in the win column for the series.
During pregame, Dalton Guthrie (.275 BA with 22 RBI's in 45 games with Gwinnett) takes time to share his thoughts on the season. Ranging from his daily preparation to larger perspective, his insight (along with those of all players we've interviewed this year) allows us to get a sense of what it takes at this level along with staying ready for "the call" (you may watch the full interview below):
Game recap: Durham's 7-run inning does in the Stripers
Gwinnett would get on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to Vaughn Grissom's RBI double to give the Stripers an early 1-0 lead. In the top of the 3rd inning, Durham would tie the game thanks to Ronny Simon's RBI single.
In the top of the 4th inning, the Stripers' Luis De Avila makes a sound fielding play and makes the throw to home plate to get Billy Hamilton out; however, catcher Chadwick Tromp is not able to hold onto the tag (and gets a fielding error) which allows the runner to score and give the Bulls a 2-1 lead.
The Stripers would tie the game in the bottom of the 6th inning (2-2) thanks to Chadwick Tromp's RBI single. However, the Bulls' Ruben Cardenas' RBI single would break the tie in the top of the 7th, giving Durham a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the 8th, Austin Shenton's RBI single gives the Bulls a 4-2 lead. Tristan Gray adds a majestic 3-run blast on a rope over the right field fence (his 30th of the season) to give Durham a 7-2 lead. To put the Stripers in a deeper hole, Niko Hulsizer's 3-run homer just over the 400-foot marker in centerfield (his 17th of the season) makes it a 10-2 game.
Durham's Ronny Simon (3 for 5 with 1 RBI), Trisan Gray (1 for 3 with 1 HR and 3 RBI's), and Niko Hulsizer (1 for 2 with 1 HR and 3 RBI's) lead the 13-hit attack (as they have scored 29 runs in the first 3 games of the series). Michael Mercado earns the win to improve to 2-2 overall.
Gwinnett's Brian Moran drops to 2-1 overall with the loss. Joe Dunand (3 for 5), Vaughn Grissom (1 for 4 with 1 RBI), and Chadwick Tromp (2 for 3 with 1 RBI) account for the team's offense (click HERE for the complete box score).
The series continues through this Sunday, September 24, 2023 at Coolray Field.
Notes: All video and photography are recorded by Andrew Snorton/CCSLLC (click HERE to visit their website for their coverage). To watch our 2023 playlist of the team/our in-season coverage, click HERE (and subscribe to our YouTube channel). The series continues through Sunday, September 24, 2023, including fan-appreciation related events.