Bullish: the Durham Bulls defeat the Gwinnett Stripers 5-2
Pregame: Durham Bulls (46-40, 1st place in the International League East/AAA) vs Gwinnett Stripers (42-44, 10.5 GB in the International League West/AAA)
Coming into the July 14th game (the 3rd game of a 6-game series/7:05pm EST first pitch) between the visiting Durham Bulls (AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) and the Gwinnett Stripers (AAA affiliate of the 2021 World Champion Atlanta Braves), both teams are looking to take the lead in yet another important series.
Tied for 1st place in their division, the Bulls look to starting pitcher Easton McGee (4-5, 4.36 ERA) to set the tone for the team defense. Led offensively by 40-man roster members Xavier Edwards (.315 batting average), Rene Pinto (.255 BA with 20 runs batted in), and Ford Proctor (.211 BA with 24 RBI's), along with Brandon Lowe (who is batting .417 during his rehab assignment via the Tampa Bay Rays), the team looks to score early. Additional support from Tristan Gray (.198 BA with 18 home runs and 49 RBI's), Jim Haley (.227 BA with 13 HR, 28 RBI's, and 10 stolen bases), and Miles Mastrobuoni (.280 BA with 8 HR, 34 RBI's, and a team leading 14 SB's) are keys to the team's current position.
The Stripers counter on offense with 40-man roster members Travis Demeritte (.230 BA with 6 SB's) and Mike Ford (.200 BA with Gwinnett) along with Delino DeShields, Jr. (.262 BA with 19 SB's), Chadwick Tromp (.266 BA with 9 HR and 34 RBI's), and Pat Valaika (.254 BA with 8 HR and 35 RBI's). Kyle Muller (who is on the Braves' 40-man roster) comes in to tonight's start with a 5-5 record and a solid 2.95 ERA.
Prior to the game, Travis Demeritte joins us for our pregame interview. He shares his journey on the 2022 season from his successes, lessons learned (and learning), and overall focus on his individual and team growth (view the full interview below):
Highlights: Durham Bulls (47-40) defeat the Gwinnett Stripers (42-45) by a 5-2 score
Durham would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st off Gwinnett starter Kyle Muller thanks to a leadoff double by Miles Mastrobuoni and eventual RBI single by Rene Pinto. The Bulls would add to their lead in the top of the 2nd thanks to Mastrobuoni's RBI single, making it a 2-0 game.
The Stripers would get on the board in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Travis Demeritte's RBI double would score Braden Shewmake, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Pitching and defense would keep both teams' offenses in check until the bottom of the 7th inning.
The Stripers' Hernan Perez would lead off the inning with a single and then steal a base to get in scoring position. With 2 outs and Braden Shewmake at the plate, Durham's Calvin Faucher would uncork a wild pitch that would find its way to the stands, allowing Perez to score and tie the game at 2.
In the top of the 8th, singles by the Bulls' Diego Infante (who would add his second stolen base of the game) and Miles Mastrobuoni (who would add a stolen base of his own) would put pressure on Stripers' reliever Jacob Webb, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd base. A solid fielding play by Webb to corner Infante at 3rd base and get thrown out at home plate gets negated by Rene Pinto's RBI single to give Durham a 3-2 lead. Curtis Mead would follow with a bases clearing double which scores 2 runs, making it a 5-2 lead for the Bulls.
In the bottom of the 9th, Gwinnett's Delino DeShields' sacrifice fly to left field cuts the deficit to 5-3, but Cristofer Ogando would shut the door to preserve the win for Durham, earning his 3rd save.
The Bulls' offense is led by Miles Mastrobuoni (3 for 4 with 1 RBI and a stolen base), Rene Pinto (3 for 4 with 2 RBI's), and Curtis Mead (2 for 4 with 2 RBI's). While Calvin Faucher would get the win (to improve to 3-3), starting pitcher Easton McGee would go 5.2 innings (allowing 1 run/earned on 5 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks).
The Stripers' Jacob Webb would take the loss (0-1 overall) as he allows 3 runs (all earned) on 4 hits with one strikeout. Starting pitcher Kyle Muller would keep Gwinnett in the game during his 6 innings (allowing 2 runs/earned on 7 hits with 7 strikeouts). On offense, Travis Demeritte (1 for 3 with 1 RBI) and Delino DeShields (sacrifice fly) would provide the scoring (for the full box score, click HERE).
Both teams resume the series on July 15th (2022) at 7:05pm EST (with Durham holding a 2-1 lead in the series).
Notes: All video and photos recorded by Andrew Snorton
Video: The first video is the full pregame interview with Travis Demeritte. The other two videos are early in-game snapshots of the game.
Photo grid 1: The top row (left to right for all rows) includes the managers for Durham and Gwinnett exchanging lineup cards and members of the Gwinnett Stripers standing for the National Anthem. The first row from the top features a snapshot of pregame and Stripers' starter Kyle Muller on the mound. The middle row includes the Bulls' Brandon Lowe (on his rehab assignment from the Tampa Bay Rays) and Miles Mastrobuoni (he would go 3 for 4 with 1 RBI and a stolen base). The first row from the bottom features Braden Shewmake and Delino DeShields, Jr. getting ready to bat in the bottom of the first inning for the Stripers along with teammate Hernan Perez (who goes 3 for 4 with a stolen base) making his way to 1st base. The bottom row includes Durham starter Easton McGee (who would go 5.2 innings and allow 1 run) and Gwinnett's Travis Demeritte (who goes 1 for 3 with 1 RBI).
Photo grid 2: The top row (left to right) showcases Durham's Brandon Lowe (who is held hitless in tonight's game) and both starters (Easton McGee for the Bulls and Kyle Muller for the Stripers) as both do a solid job of keeping their teams in the game (both combine to throw 11.2 innings and allow 3 runs). The bottom row (left to right) features the Bulls' Diego Infante (who goes 2 for 4 with a pair of stolen bases), a snapshot of the Stripers focused (in the dugout), and Travis Demeritte making a play to get to 3rd base.