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Monday, April 30, 2012

Matt Torra, Durham Bulls shut out Indianapolis Indians, snap club-record 13-game losing streak

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 6:48 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Durham Bulls outfielder Jesus Feliciano caught the final out of Matt Torra and Cesar Ramos' combined two-hit, 1-0 shutout of the Indianapolis Indians this afternoon. It was a fairly well-hit drive to center field by the dangerous Jeff Clement. Feliciano's catch came just a few minutes after he himself drove in the only run of the game with a double to right field that barely eluded the diving Brandon Boggs on the warning track. After the catch in center field ended the game, infielders Reid Brignac and Shawn O'Malley didn't high-five or shake hands. They hugged. Bulls manager Charlie...

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things get worse as no-hitter produces record-tying 13th straight loss

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK Saying the Durham Bulls have been going through hard times this season would be quite the understatement.Photo by Chris BairdJustin Wilson went most of the way in a no-hitter against the reeling Bulls. The five-time defending South Division champions are in last place in the International League, and it’s been a steady progression to get there. Headed into Game 3 of their four-game home series with a decent Indianapolis Indians club, the Bulls have lost a club Triple-A record 12 straight games. And they’re one loss away from tying the all-time record – that’s going back...

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San Antonio Scorpions sting winless Carolina RailHawks 1-0

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 8:30 AM

David FellerathThe RailHawks are backing themselves into a cornerWAKEMED SOCCER PARK/CARY—Last year was a record-setting one for the Carolina RailHawks. The team set high marks for wins and goals in a season and earned the club’s first regular season title. This year, the RailHawks have already set another, more ignominious record. Previously, the most games Carolina had gone without a win to start a season was four in 2007, the franchise’s debut campaign. Carolina surpassed that mark Saturday night against the expansion side San Antonio Scorpions, losing 1-0 to go winless over their opening five games of the 2012 NASL...

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Durham Bulls Shut Out 2-0: When Will it Stop?

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham—The last time I covered the Durham Bulls was the night of April 10. They were shut out by the Charlotte Knights 5-0. After the game manager Charlie Montoyo joked that his older son Tyson said that his younger brother Alex had fallen asleep because the game was so boring. It was just one loss. No big deal. That’s baseball. The Bulls won an 11am start the next morning, April 11, and everything seemed normal. The team departed Durham for their first road trip with a 5-2 record. Granted, that looming trip was a monster: 14 games in 14 days...

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Preview: Carolina RailHawks host San Antonio Scorpions

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Rob Kinnan PhotographyPablo Campos, during friendlier timesThe last time Pablo Campos played at WakeMed Soccer Park was a mere six months ago. Then a member of the Carolina RailHawks, Campos hobbled through leg cramps on his way to a hat trick during Carolina’s shootout loss to the NSC Minnesota Stars in the NASL playoff semifinals. It was the bittersweet finale in a standout season for the Brazilian striker, who scored a team and league second-best 15 goals. “I gave everything that I had,” Campos said after the match last October. “I’m far away from my family and here for soccer...

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Indianapolis Indians' rout extends Durham Bulls losing streak to 11 games: One big blah

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—I think Durham Bulls reliever Marquis Fleming may have been looking for the phrase "one big blur" last night after the Bulls were crushed, 13-2, by the Indianapolis Indians. The loss was Durham's 14th in the last 15 games and the team's 11th in a row. They are two losses away from tying the club's all-time record for consecutive defeats. Fleming had been asked about how the pitchers were trying to recover as a group from a horrid spell that has puffed the team ERA all the way up to 6.29, one of the very worst marks in all...

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Devastation at last: Durham Bulls return home after disastrous 1-13 road trip

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM

The cruelest month... The Durham Bulls don't play today, and they are probably thankful for that. They returned late Wednesday night from a 14-game road trip that can only be called a total disaster. The Bulls lost 13 of the 14 games, including the last 10 in a row. To put it in perspective, that is the longest losing streak by a Durham Bulls team since the franchise joined the International League in 1998. Chances are good that it is also the longest losing streak in manager Charlie Montoyo's sparkling career, which dates back to 1997. I'm planning to ask...

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Island giveaway: Puerto Rico grounds Carolina RailHawks 3-1

Posted By on Sun, Apr 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM

WEB/BAYAMÓN, P.R.—The Puerto Rico Islanders (3-1-0, 10 pts.) continued their fast start to the NASL season by downing the Carolina RailHawks (0-3-1, 3 points) by a score of 3-1 at Bayamón Soccer Complex in Puerto Rico. The RailHawks' first loss this year came with manager Colin Clarke's return to the club he coached the past five seasons before leaving for Carolina. Brian Ackley and Chris Nurse, both suspended for last Wednesday's tie at Tampa Bay, received their first starts of the year. However, Carolina's backline remained the same...for better and worse. In the 27th minute, Kupono Low was whistled for...

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Defense helps Black roll 32-7 in State's Kay Yow Spring Game

Posted By on Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Photo by Chris BairdEarl Wolff prepares to wrap up James Washington for the tackle.CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State concludes its spring practice on a warm, sunny afternoon with its annual Kay Yow Spring Game, with pink logos on the field and the “Black” team – which will take on the White – in pink-trimmed jerseys. The Wolfpack is coming off a decent season with a big finish, as Tom O’Brien’s club rose from the dead on three distinct occasions in November to earn a bid to the Belk Bowl and win it to finish 8-5. And with a now proven starting...

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 7: There once was a man from Pawtucket

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Well, this isn't going very well, is it? The Durham Bulls are just over halfway through a grueling, peripatetic 14-game (!) road trip. The yield from the first eight of these games has been alarming: one win, seven losses, all against division rivals Gwinnett and Charlotte (who swept the Bulls). By my calculations, the Bulls haven't had a 1-7 stretch since way back in 2009. If you want to look on the bright side, they wound up winning the championship that year. Some notes follow, but if you just want a quick snapshot of what ails the Bulls before you...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Carolina RailHawks draw 1-1 with Tampa Bay Rowdies

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 9:50 PM

WEB/ST. PETERSBURG—For the second consecutive game, the Carolina RailHawks (0-3-0) both took and surrendered a lead, going up a goal on the Tampa Bay Rowdies (1-1-1) before finishing in a 1-1 tie and taking a point from their visit to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. After a languid first half, Mike Palacio delivered a left-footed cross in the 66th minute that sailed through the box and found an unmarked Brian Shriver. The Clearwater, Fla. native gathered the orb and used his own left boot to ripple the back of the net and put the RailHawks ahead. However, four...

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Hockey playoffs becoming violent farce

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

It’s safe to say that I’m thankful the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t make the playoffs this season. In fact, that’s about the only thing that’s safe about the National Hockey League right now. Coming home after a poetry reading last night—the fire and brimstone fury of Amiri Baraka—I flipped on the television to catch whatever first-round playoff action might be on. The eight opening series of the Stanley Cup tournament are the bounty that every hockey fan has been anticipating for months. Regardless of the match-ups, you tune in because this is what hockey is all about. The quest for the...

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Two RailHawks suspended for tonight's Tampa match; no decision yet from league on further discipline

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Al DragoRailHawks and Silverbacks getting to know each other a bit better at the end of last Satuday's match at WakeMed Soccer Park in CaryAs a result of red cards issued in the aftermath of the melee that ended last Saturday's match between the Carolina RailHawks and the Atlanta Silverbacks before the end of full-time stoppage, both Brian Ackley and Chris Nurse are suspended from tonight's game with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in St. Petersburg, Fla. After Ackley and Nico Colaluca grappled near the RailHawks' bench, a scuffle ensued during which RailHawks' manager Colin Clarke sought to separate the two...

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Golazos and Gonzos: Carolina RailHawks and Atlanta Silverbacks battle to 4-4 draw

Posted By on Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Al DragoNothing but open space separating Nick Zimmerman and goal during the 4-4 draw between the RailHawks and Atlanta SilverbacksWAKEMED SOCCER PARK/CARY—For soccer naysayers who disparage the notion that a match that ends in a tie can be entertaining, I commend to them Nick Zimmerman’s description of the 4-4 draw between the Carolina RailHawks and the Atlanta Silverbacks Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. “Fun” was the RailHawks midfielder's one-word adjective for a rollicking contest that included eight goals, 29 shots, two lead changes, three equalizers, seven yellow cards, three red cards and—for good measure—a game-ending fracas during which the...

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Preview—Carolina RailHawks host Atlanta Silverbacks in NASL home opener

Posted By on Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Objectively, the Carolina RailHawks had good reason to be encouraged with their season-opening draw with the Minnesota Stars last week. The RailHawks kicked off their 2012 campaign by going on the road to take on the defending NASL champions in front of over 8,000 of their supporters, and Carolina still came away with a point. Unfortunately, the RailHawks didn’t pass the eye or stat test. The Stars dominated pace and possession, and they outshot Carolina by a whopping margin of 22-2. Only a stout defensive effort, led by seven saves from goalkeeper Ray Burse, salvaged a tie. Burse was named...

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not When, But Whither: MLS president visits Carolina RailHawks supporters and Triangle media

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Neil Morris(L-R) Carolina RailHawks President Curt Johnson, MLS President Mark Abbott, NASL Commissioner David Downs and Aaron Davidson of Traffic Sports at MLS fan forum Thursday in RaleighRALEIGH/CARY, N.C.—Two seemingly paradoxical facts emerged from today’s visit to Raleigh and Cary by executives for Major League Soccer, an event sponsored by the Carolina RailHawks. First, MLS isn’t coming to North Carolina anytime soon. And Triangle fans have many reasons to feel optimistic about the future of professional soccer in this area. The all-afternoon affair—which began around noon at a packed Backyard Bistro in Raleigh and finished around 5 p.m. three miles...

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Durham Bulls hold off Charlotte Knights: Teach Your Children

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 2:55 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM—The Bulls' 5-4 win over the Knights yesterday was an 11:00 a.m. affair, one of the "Education Day" early ones the Bulls schedule so as to accommodate school trips. One thing you notice is that most kids really don't know or seem able follow a baseball game at all, and that makes sense. Baseball's hallmark traits—slowness, complexity, contemplation—are pretty much the opposite of most kids' natural demeanor. But their presence yesterday helped shed some light, under the high midday sun, on one of the essentials of the ballplaying life. It has to do with teaching children. The Indy's publishing...

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lowery, Mudcats rally in eighth to compete winning homestand

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON First chance to catch up with the Carolina Mudcats, in their inaugural season in the Class A Carolina League after this franchise played as the Kinston Indians for the previous 25 seasons. Photo courtesy Carolina MudcatsMudcats catcher Jake LoweryAs per usual the Tribe’s A club looks pretty solid, and is in first place in the Southern Division with a 3-2 record going into the finale of the opening homestand. Tonight’s opponent, the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks, is the affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Former Durham Bull Damon Hollins is the Wilmington hitting coach. Opening Night starter...

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Durham Bulls Shut Out 5-0: Not Some Kind of Wonderful

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham—I arrived in downtown Durham tonight around 6:15 p.m. for the 7:05 first pitch to be thrown by the Bulls’ ace right-hander Alex Cobb, against the Charlotte Knights in game two of a three-game series. I parked near the intersection of W. Morgan St. and the Downtown Loop in one of the curb spots that are free with unlimited after 6 p.m. There are closer places to park for a game, but it was 70 degrees and sunny and I wanted the fifteen-minute stroll. It’s not easy to stroll around the Downtown Loop (there are no sidewalks), so I hugged...

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Durham Bulls pound Charlotte Knights: Dan Johnson returns

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoDan Johnson returned to the DBAP as a Charlotte Knight. DBAP/ DURHAM—Makes perfect sense that Dan Johnson came back to Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the Bulls scored a baker's dozen runs and drubbed Charlotte, 13-5. The man had a season of massive, almost unmatched run-producing power as a Bull in 2010. This was one of those games about which the less said the better, really, but to get the big stuff in: 18 hits, 15 of them singles. Brandon Guyer hit his second home run. Coupla doubles (Leslie Anderson and Juan Miranda, who got his first...

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Durham Bulls down Gwinnett Braves: Archery

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Finally, after three nail-biters, an easy one. Well, easy enough, anyway. The Braves actually managed to get the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth inning of the Bulls' 7-4 win. So that's a good measure of just how tight the games between the two teams have been: it's got to be a seesaw affair to qualify as a close one. This, though, was a 7-1 game from the sixth inning till the ninth, a big lead generated early by a five-run second inning for Durham. Chris Archer threw six strong innings of one-run, two-hit...

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bulls 6, Braves 5: Nine Innings, barely.

Posted By on Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham - Durham Bulls 6, Gwinnett Braves 5 in nine innings. The game was THIS close to being the third straight extra inning game to start the season. Jokes were offered in the press box in this regard. Everybody was relieved when the game ended in nine innings, albeit still late in time in walk-off fashion at the 3 hour 25 minute mark. I want to offer a couple of qualifiers before I report on tonight's game. I haven't written a story about the details of a sporting event since I was sports editor of The Pamlicoan, the weekly...

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Extras again at the DBAP, but Gwinnett Braves shut out Durham Bulls in 11 innings: Patience

Posted By on Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Photo by Al DragoDurham Bulls' pitcher Alex Torres in action at the DBAP, April 6, 2012. DBAP/ DURHAM—"No, I've never had back-to-back extra-inning games to open a season," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said, smirking, as soon as we tossed our voice recorders down in front of him after Gwinnett beat Durham, 3-0, in 11 innings. The night before that, on opening day, Durham won, 4-3, in 12. Well, so, now he has. That's the thing about baseball: If you stay with it long enough, you'll see almost everything—except, well, no you won't. The endless permutations of baseball, and its glorious...

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Durham Bulls open 2012 season with 12th-inning comeback to beat Gwinnett Braves: Backwards

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoThe Bulls celebrate after Will Rhymes (L) scored the winning run in the 12th inning last night. DBAP/ DURHAM—It isn't supposed to start this way. Take last year's home opener in Durham: Alex Cobb led the Durham Bulls to a 4-0 shutout win over Norfolk that took barely more than two hours to play. A brisk and breezy start, kind of like the first day of the semester, when the professor hands out the syllabus, talks for about 15 minutes, and sends you out of class into the unsuspecting morning. It's going to be a long, hard...

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A new beginning for Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon Friday night

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON A whole new era officially begins for the Carolina Mudcats Friday night. At 7:15 p.m. at Five County Stadium, the Mudcats – who had been members of the Double-A Southern League since arriving in Wake County in 1991 – will make their debut in the Class A-Advanced Carolina League against the Winston-Salem Dash. Photo courtesy Carolina MudcatsMudcats manager Edwin RodriguezIt will be the first CL game in the Triangle since 1997, the Durham Bulls’ final season in the league before moving up to Triple-A. The Raleigh Caps were charter members of the league in 1945, and Raleigh...

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