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Sunday, July 31, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours — Carolina Railhawks wash out Atlanta, 1-0

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Rob Kinnan PhotographyWAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY — Like the collage a grade school class might present to their visiting principal, the Carolina RailHawks commemorated NASL Commissioner David Downs’ second trip to WakeMed Soccer Park by treating him to an overview of the home team’s 2011 season: increased attendance, copious weather woes, an Etienne Barbara goal and another RailHawks victory. Yet, while 1-0 result was typical for both the RailHawks and their snakebitten opponent, the Atlanta Silverbacks, the path to it was anything but. Three weather delays totaling more than two hours eventually led to the match being called in...

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gwinnett Braves shut out Durham Bulls again, regain first place tie: {0 000 000 000 000 000 000}

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Save Governor's School!DBAP/ DURHAM—The Gwinnett Braves shut out the Durham Bulls for the second straight night on Friday. Left-hander Yohan Flande, a swingman who had faced the Bulls five times already this season entering last night's game—three as a reliever, two as a starter—threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, his longest outing of the year so far. Flande was backed up by relievers Cory Gearrin and Jaye Chapman, who completed the whitewash. Braves center fielder Jeff Fiorentino hit a three-run home run off of Durham starter Andy Sonnanstine in the fifth inning, and you knew right then that the game was...

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Gwinnett Braves shut out Durham Bulls: Fame and Fortugno

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Kailey FarmerMauro Gomez had the game-winning hit for Gwinnett last night.DBAP/ DURHAM—When your team goes 17 2/3 innings without scoring a single run and still gains a split of two games, you go to sleep happy. Gwinnett Braves' manager Dave Brundage ought to be slumbering deeply after what his team pulled off over the last 48 hours. They won easily on Tuesday night, 9-3, but didn't score in the ninth inning of that game. Then they were shut out on Wednesday by the Bulls' Matt Moore, whose performance that night is likely to pass into the realm of...

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tar Heels name Everett Withers interim head coach

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 8:18 PM

UNC has a head football coach again. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC coach Everett WithersThe University announced through a press release late Thursday afternoon that Everett Withers, who had been defensive coordinator and secondary coach, will replace Butch Davis who was fired on Wednesday. Withers will have “interim” in front of his title. “We’ve selected Everett Withers to lead the football program,” athletic director Dickie Baddour said. “The Chancellor and I spoke with him this afternoon and we believe he has the leadership qualities to help our student-athletes deal with the challenges ahead. We are fortunate to have someone with his...

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Matt. Moore. Matt. Moore. Matt. Moore. Durham. Bulls. Win.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Kailey FarmerMatt. Moore.DBAP/ DURHAM—Matt Moore, promoted to Durham from Class AA Montgomery on July 19, made his second start for the Durham Bulls on Wednesday night. He struck out the first batter he faced, Jose Constanza, on three pitches. The next man up was Tyler Pastornicky, who was also promoted from Class AA (Mississippi) to Class AAA on July 19. The two players were both born in Florida in 1989. Moore faced Pastornicky in two Southern League games earlier this season, holding him to an infield single in five at-bats. Pastornicky was, in fact, the only player in...

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The shoe has dropped: Exit Butch Davis

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Photo by Al DragoButch Davis, pictured here last week at the Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview, talked about a promising season for Carolina. The suspense is over around the UNC football program. The university released an E-Mail late this afternoon with the news that football coach Butch Davis had been immediately relieved of his duties, following a months-long NCAA investigation of players’ receipts of extra benefits as well as academic cheating. Chancellor Holden Thorp and athletic director Dickie Baddour will hold a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the transaction and the immediate future of the program. “To restore confidence in...

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Gwinnett Braves hammer Durham Bulls: Hesitation, or Working Parts

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—The Gwinnett Braves smashed the Durham Bulls, 9-3, last night, to pull within one game of the IL South Division lead. It was Durham's second glum loss in a row, essentially decided early by lackluster starting pitching. One night after Brian Baker put his team in an early hole, leading to a 6-2 loss, Matt Torra allowed three Gwinnett runs in the first inning, thanks largely to a pair of four-pitch walks. That was plenty for Braves starter Julio Teheran, Atlanta's top pitching prospect. Teheran wasn't at his best. He allowed eight hits over six innings and struggled to...

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Toledo Mud Hens snap Durham Bulls' winning streak: Complaints

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Kailey FarmerToledo's Will Rhymes rounds third in the Mud Hens' win over Durham last night.DBAP/ DURHAM—I like that word, "complaint," because if you go beyond its usual meaning—e.g., "Waiter, my steak is (over)(under)cooked"—you find that the complaint is not only the voicing of the problem but the cause of the problem itself: a stomach complaint, for example, isn't merely the sound of a stomach whining about how hungry it is; it more often refers to the virus/infection/chili-dog that has attacked it. So you could complain about Brian Baker, who lasted only 4 1/3 innings last night and was...

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Davis, O'Brien answer same old questions as ACC gets ready for some football

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 2:30 AM

PINEHURST RESORT Both Butch Davis and Tom O’Brien have got to be tired of answering the same old questions and very anxious for practice to get started next week. The UNC and N.C. State coaches, along with Duke’s David Cutcliffe, were hand with the conference’s nine other coaches for the ACC Kickoff on Sunday and Monday. When the pads finally start cracking, the media will start asking more questions about how the new receivers are catching the ball and which true freshmen really have a chance to play in those season openers against the FCS boys from Virginia and how...

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Durham Bulls win third straight over Toledo Mud Hens: Investment

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoAndy Sonnanstine allowed one run in seven innings to earn the win for Durham.DBAP/ DURHAM—An apparently digressive yet (I promise) piercingly relevant introduction to the Durham Bulls' 2-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens follows, so let me preface that with a piercingly concise summary of the ballgame—a civic duty, perhaps, given that I was the lone reporter at the ballpark last night. Some sort of college football jamboree had everyone down in the Sandhills, evidently. Andy Sonnanstine, the erstwhile Tampa Bay Rays pitcher trying to work his way back up to the majors—the second time in...

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The bittersweet smell of success — With its stars' futures in flux, Carolina RailHawks roast FC Edmonton 4-1

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Rob Kinnan PhotographyPablo Campos takes on all comers during Carolina RailHawks 4-1 defeat of FC EdmontonWAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY — It is no small irony that on the Carolina RailHawks’ “Faith and the Family” promotion night, the weather around WakeMed Soccer Park felt as hot as Hades. However, Saturday’s 100°F temperature would turn out to be a decisive home field advantage for the hosts over their Canadian opponents, FC Edmonton. Edmonton (7-6-4) faded badly in the heat, and the RailHawks (13-2-2) turned the game into a 4-1 rout on three second-half goals. The win showed the RailHawks recapturing their...

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Torres' solid start, balanced effort give Bulls easy win over Toledo

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 11:35 PM

DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls play their first game of the post-Desmond Jennings area tonight against the Toledo Mud Hens, with their three-game winning streak and first-place spot in the International League’s South Division on the line. Photo courtesy Durham BullsBulls pitcher Alex TorresIt’s still 91 degrees at game time as lefty Alex Torres (6-6, 3.23) takes the hill against the Mud Hens’ Thad Weber (5-6, 5.61) before another large but not capacity crowd. John Matulia (.192, 2 HR, 7 RBI in 9 games) has taken over for Jennings as the leadoff man in center field. Veteran Bulls shortstop and erstwhile...

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Durham Bulls rally to beat Toledo Mud Hens. Jennings rises to majors. Brignac down to Durham. Moore falls on face.

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 6:00 AM

photo courtesy of Durham BullsDesmond Jennings was promoted to the major leagues.DBAP/ DURHAM—Desmond Jennings was supposed to lead off and play center field last night, but an hour before game time he was mysteriously pulled from the Durham Bulls' lineup for what we were later told were "non-medical" reasons. By then, we media hyenas were already making our silly, slobbering speculations, as if we weren't drooling enough over getting our first look at Matt Moore, the Rays' (and perhaps America's) No. 1 pitching prospect, set to make his Class AAA debut after his promotion from Montgomery, where he threw a...

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview lifts lid on optimistic Triangle/East Fab Five

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 9:34 PM

(Disclaimer: while I am not a full-time employee of N.C. Central University, I have been paid by the university to write feature stories for the athletics website — nccueaglepride.com — on a regular basis for the past year.) WASHINGTON DUKE INN/DURHAM Bill Dooley says this event is the biggest of its kind in the South. And there’s no reason to doubt the Ol’ Trench Fighter, the legendary former coach at UNC, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech on that one. Over 300 college football fans were on hand for a fancy lunch, a few jokes and plenty of information about the...

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 5: Men Up, Men Down—Man Up! (& MAN-UPDATED: Joe Bateman returns!)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo courtesy of Montgomery AdvertiserTop Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore makes his Durham debut on Friday.If it seems like the Durham Bulls haven't played a home game in almost two weeks, that's because the Bulls haven't played a home game in almost two weeks. They headed into the All-Star break with two games at Norfolk, then resumed play on an eight-game swing to Pawtucket, where they split four games, and Rochester, where they've split the first two, losing 3-2, again, last night: all three of their northern-trip losses have been by that score. The Bulls trail both IL South Division...

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mudcats' frantic comeback falls short in 10-7 loss to Jackson

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 11:42 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in again on the Carolina Mudcats, who have had a huge improvement since finishing far and away in last place in the Southern League in the first half. Photo courtesy Carolina MudcatsMudcats outfielder Felix PerezFortunately for Carolina, minor leagues below the Triple-A level get a reset after their all-star break. And the Mudcats are on a roll. They’ll come into their second game of the home series with the Jackson Generals — known last season as the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx — on a five-game winning streak and in second place in the SL’s North Division....

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Norfolk Tides 17, Durham Bulls 2: Facing Unpleasant Facts

Posted By on Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoThe Norfolk Tides' Nick Green hitting one of his two home runs on Friday nightDBAP/ DURHAM—Facing Unpleasant Facts is the title of the volume of George Orwell essays I brought with me to the ballpark last night. For one of my other jobs, I needed to refresh myself on his great essay "Shooting an Elephant", which Facing Unpleasant Facts contains, so I had the book on hand in case of a rain delay. Guess what? There were two rain delays. Twenty-seven minutes before we even started, 61 minutes in the bottom of the third. I sat and...

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Durham Bulls roll back Norfolk Tides, 5-4: Pick-me-up

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 6:00 AM

photo: Al DragoRuss Canzler rounding the bases after his first-inning home run last nightDBAP/ DURHAM—I needed a pick-me-up this afternoon, sportsfans. At 5:00, I was dragging. I went out for coffee but the queue was long and slow and I abandoned the errand, sweating and heavy-limbed in the sticky midsummer heat. I arrived at the ballpark in a lethargic state, dazed, out of it. Turned out I didn't need my pick-me-up, though, because the Bulls kept serving them up all night long. On Wednesday night, the Bulls trailed 3-0 four batters into the game. On Thursday, they trailed 3-0 after...

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Durham Bulls' late rally sandbags Norfolk Tides: Rain go away

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 6:00 AM

photo: Al DragoBulls outfielder Brandon Guyer went 4-4 with two doubles last night.DBAP/ DURHAM—Apparently, the Durham Bulls were just waiting to find out whether it was going to really rain or not. From the first inning through the seventh-inning stretch, they left seven runners on base and spotted the Norfolk Tides a 5-3 lead. Three of the Tides' runs came just four batters into the game. In the top of the first, just-acquired Bulls starter Matt Torra gave up a double to Matt Angle, got a flyout, then allowed an RBI single to Josh Bell, and then Jake Fox crushed...

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stroman gets the save again as USA clinches series with Japanese

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 11:53 PM

Duke's Marcus Stroman shut the door for Team USA once again, picking up his second save in three games in a 4-3 win over Japan on Tuesday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The victory was the USA’s third in as many games and the clincher in the 38th annual best-of-5 Collegiate Friendship Series, setting off a lengthy celebration between the players and the full house on hand to see the city’s rain-postponed Independence Day fireworks show. The teams had been scheduled to play Monday night, but when that game was postponed by heavy rains a day-night doubleheader was...

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Tenth for the Fourth — Carolina RailHawks soften Impact 2-0

Posted By on Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Carolina RailHawksJonny shows Steely resolve during RailHawks 2-0 win over MonrealWAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY — A patriotic air enveloped the season-high crowd of 4,690 that assembled at WakeMed Soccer Park on July Fourth weekend to watch the Carolina RailHawks clash with the Montreal Impact, the rival from the Great White North who, like Great Britain, is a once-great empire that in recent times has fallen precipitously close to irrelevance. Bookending Saturday evening’s festivities were literal pyrotechnics the home club ponied up — the Khano Smith savings, passed onto the public? — to shoot off after the match and before...

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Canzler, Baker spark Bulls, who tie Gwinnett for first place again

Posted By on Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 11:59 PM

" width="500" height="350" />Photo by Al DragoRuss Canzler high-fives Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo as he rounds third base. DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls are facing a pretty important game as they host the Gwinnett Braves. Yes, there are two months left in the season. But the Bulls dropped the opener of their four-game, two-city set 4-1 on Saturday night to fall into second place in the International League’s South Division. There will be a full house on a hot night in the Bull City as the Independence Day weekend celebration continues.Brian Baker (5-5, 5.68) will go for the Bulls against...

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Duke's Stroman saves the day as USA gets 7-6 comeback win over Japanese

Posted By on Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Photo by Al DragoMarcus Stroman pitched five straight outs to end the game. DBAP/DURHAM It’s Game 1 of the annual Collegiate Friendship Series between Team USA and Japan. This will be the 38th rendition of the annual five-game set, which is played to a fifth game even if one team quickly wins three times. Japan has taken the series only once when it was held in the United States, that being in 2007 with the deciding game at DBAP. This time Games 1 and 2 will be played here, with Game 3 in Cary before the set finishes with single...

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gwinnett takes first place from Bulls in solid pitchers' duel

Posted By on Sat, Jul 2, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Photo by Al DragoAlex Cobb had another quality start, pitching six innings and allowing five hits and two earned runs. DBAP/DURHAM There’s another first-place showdown starting tonight. The Durham Bulls come into the opener of their four-game, two-city series with the Gwinnett Braves tied for the top spot in the International League’s South Division. Tonight the Bulls will send ace Alex Cobb (5-0, 1.35) to the hill against Yohan Flande (3-4, 4.23). There’s a huge crowd on hand — 10,163 — as the Bulls begin their holiday weekend festivities with postgame fireworks. Former Bull Chris Carter is now with the...

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Real basketball for diehard hoop-heads at the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 10:14 PM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeAndre Dawkins, who normally plays for Duke, will play for Sheraton Imperial this summer. On Thursday, June 30, Indy summer intern Philip Hoover attended the opening night of the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am at N.C. Central's McLendon-McDougald gym. The annual five-week event has become a big draw for area basketball fans and players alike. Hoover will be filing reports from the Pro Am this summer.In the modern world of overbearing corporate advertising campaigns, massive TV deals, high-definition broadcasts and a struggling national economy, the sports landscape is changing. Over the past decade, ticket prices for...

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