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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ho-hum? Heck no! Bulls win South once again

Posted by on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 1:26 AM

The Durham Bulls celebrate their second straight division championship. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • The Durham Bulls celebrate their second straight division championship.

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls' magic number is one heading into tonight's contest with the Gwinnett Braves.

So if the defending Governors' Cup champion Bulls win - or if the second-place Norfolk Tides lose at Charlotte - they'll claim their 12th South Division title and 13th playoff berth in their 17 seasons in the International League.

Long-ago former Bulls skipper Brian Snitker manages Gwinnett.

Matt Andriese (11-7, 3.76) will take on the Braves' Terry Doyle (3-3, 3.30).

Durham gets solid pitching all night, scratching out enough runs to clinch the division title with a 4-2 win.

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    Durham earns 13th trip to Governors' Cup Playoffs.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Mahtook's two-out double in ninth foils no-hit bid from Tides' Wright

Posted by on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Norfolk Tides players watch teammate Mike Wright's no-hit bid in the ninth inning. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Norfolk Tides players watch teammate Mike Wright's no-hit bid in the ninth inning.

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls are inching ever closer to their 12th division title and 13th playoff berth in their 17 seasons in the International League.

Heading into tonight's game with the second-place Norfolk Tides, Durham's magic number to clinch a second straight South Division crown is six with 13 games left in the season - all against either the Tides or the Gwinnett Braves.

Nathan Karns (9-6, 4.45) will look for his eighth straight quality start tonight against East Carolina alum Mike Wright (4-11, 5.16).

This time it's Wright that gets the quality start - an extremely high-quality one that gets him an extended standing ovation as he leaves for the dugout after 122 pitches - as he pitches 8 2/3 no-hit innings in a 5-2 Norfolk win.

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    Bulls' magic number remains at six after loss

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mudcats drop series opener to visiting Beach boys

Posted by on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 1:59 AM

Alex Monsalve tags Myrtle Beach's Edwin Garcia out at the plate. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Alex Monsalve tags Myrtle Beach's Edwin Garcia out at the plate.

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Good news for the Carolina Mudcats is that they're in the pennant race in August.

And if they win the second-half race in the Carolina League's Southern Division they'll be in the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

They're currently in third place at 23-23, 2 1/2 games behind tonight's opponent from Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans won the first half, so if they win the division and the Mudcats take silver Carolina will be in the playoffs - although the entire best-of-3 would be on the Grand Strand. Carolina trails Winston-Salem by half a game.

Raleigh native Josh McElwee is a relief pitcher for the Mudcats.

Adam Plutko (3-6, 4.63) will start for Carolina against Sam Wolff (7-4, 3.21).

The Mudcats just have a rough night at the plate tonight, dropping an otherwise well-played game 5-1.

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    Carolina still just half-game out of playoff spot

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wilmington ekes out 10th-inning victory over Mudcats

Posted by on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Josh Martin fires one home for the Mudcats. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Josh Martin fires one home for the Mudcats.

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats have the Carolina League's best record in the second half after having its worst in the first.

But tonight they'll try to break a two-game skid.

It's the middle of a three-game home series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who could take over first place in the Northern Division with a win.

Cole Sulser (3-9, 5.05) will take on the Rocks' Glenn Sparkman (6-2, 1.43) in a battle of right-handers.

Wilmington has a couple of familiar faces, as closer Mark Peterson is an alumnus of Sanderson High while hitting coach Milt Thompson played for the legendary 1980 Durham Bulls.

It's a back-and-forth contest all night, but the visitors get a run in the 10th and escape with a 7-6 decision.
Wilmington hitting coach Milt Thompson played for Durham 34 seasons ago. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Wilmington hitting coach Milt Thompson played for Durham 34 seasons ago.
Wilmington strikes in the first as Raul Mondesi hits a one-out double to right and scores on Bubba Starling's single to left.

But the Mudcats respond with a couple in the bottom of the frame. Yhoxian Medina singles with one out, advancing on a balk before LeVon Washington is safe on an error to Sparkman. Yandy Diaz picks up the RBI on a grounder to short before Jeremy Lucas makes it 2-1 on a double to right.

The Blue Rocks tie it in the fourth as Bubba Starling leads off with a double to left, advances on Mark Threlkeld's single to right and scores on Jared Schlehuber's one-out fly to center. Mudcats skipper Scooter Tucker is ejected at the end of the half-inning.

But Carolina takes the lead again in the bottom. Alex Monsalve leads off with a double and later scores when James Roberts reaches on a fielder's choice. Medina makes it 4-2 with an RBI single off third base to score Roberts.

Wilmington comes back to take the lead in the fifth and chase Sulser. Mondesi hits a two-run double and Starling an RBI single, and Michael Antonio later greets Jacob Lee with a single up the middle to make it 6-4.

The Mudcats aren't dead yet. In the bottom of the frame against Aroni Nina, Monsalve singles and later scores on a wild pitch. Roberts hits a one-out single, and after Logan Vick walks Yhoxian Medina hits an RBI single to third to tie the score and chase Nina.

In the 10th, Starling jumps on the first pitch from Grant Sides for a triple to right center. Michael Antonio rips a sac fly to center to score Starling with the winner.

Mark Peterson pitches the bottom of the frame for his 22nd save of the season.

They said it …
Mudcats hitting coach Tony Mansolino: "Everybody has a (nemesis), it seems. Lynchburg has played us a bunch of times this year and they're trying to figure out why they can't beat us. In every league you have teams you go back and forth with. We came in trying to win the series and that's over. If we can go in there and win one game tomorrow we'll be happy."

Mudcats center fielder Todd Hankins: "We got down early and came back, but we couldn't get a run up in the bottom of the ninth and they ended up scoring in the 10th. We just weren't able to tie it up. We've been playing well as a team and putting things together. We just weren't able to do it in the late innings tonight."

What does it all mean?
That Wilmington takes over first place in its division while the Mudcats are two ahead of Myrtle Beach in the Southern.

Stars of the game
1. Starling.
2. Mondesi.
3. Medina.

Play of the game
Starling's triple.

Streaks
Mudcats: Lost 3.
Wilmington: Won 3.

Season series
Wilmington leads 14-5.

On deck
Mudcats (Ryan Merritt 10-3, 2.13) vs. Wilmington (Jonathan Dziedzic 5-5, 2.60)
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    Sanderson product Peterson picks up save for Blue Rocks

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Loss leaves Mudcats harder road to catch Myrtle Beach

Posted by on Sat, May 24, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Mudcats ace Shawn Morimando responded with a quality start Saturday night.
  • Photo by Dean Strickland, OD
  • Mudcats ace Shawn Morimando responded with a quality start Saturday night.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's opportunity time for the Carolina Mudcats, as they continue their series with the first-place Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Carolina, which is in third place in the Carolina League's Southern Division and 6 1/2 games behind Myrtle Beach, won the opener of their four-game series on Friday night and have seven more games left against the Pelicans with 25 games left in the first half.

Tonight, Carolina ace Shawn Morimando (5-2, 3.83) will take on the Pelicans' Sam Wolff (4-3, 3.06). Carolina hitting coach Tony Mansolino is managing in place of Scooter Tucker, who has taken a short personal leave.

And on this night the Pelicans get the best of it, scoring four runs in the seventh inning in a 6-2 win.

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    Morimando solid in a no-decision.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Perez, Louisville sneak past Bulls in extra-inning nail-biter

Posted by on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Bulls outfielder Jerry Sands takes a cut.
  • File photo by Orin Day
  • Bulls outfielder Jerry Sands takes a cut.
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK Another check-in on the Durham Bulls, who are tied for their usual first-place spot in the International League's South Division.

Tonight is Game 3 of a four-game set against the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds' affiliate which is in third place in the West Division. The teams have split their first two meetings, and will square off again in Mid-June at Louisville Slugger Field.

Merrill Kelly (4-1, 2.47) will square off with the Bats' Wang Chien-Ming (3-4, 4,79) on a cool spring evening.

The teams go toe-to-toe for 10 innings, but the Bats' Felix Perez wins it 4-3 with a triple in the extra frame.

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    Lee's ninth-inning hit ties it, but Bulls score no more.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Unlucky 13 for Bulls in slugfest loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Posted by on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 12:24 AM

Durhams Mikie Mahtook slides in safely at third. Durham manager Charlie Montoyo is at rear. RailRiders third baseman is Zelous Wheeler. Umpire is Joey Amaral.
  • Photo by Orin Day
  • Durham's Mikie Mahtook slides in safely at third. Durham manager Charlie Montoyo is at rear. RailRiders third baseman is Zelous Wheeler. Umpire is Joey Amaral.
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK Checking in on the Durham Bulls, who after 25 games are sporting the most wins of anybody in the International League.

Of course that’s par for the course for a team that’s made the playoffs 12 times in its 16 seasons in the league.
Tonight is Game 3 of a four-game set with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, erm, RailRiders. The former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and Empire State Yankees are managed by Dave Miley, who will get a well-deserved induction into the International League Hall of Fame in June.

Nathan Karns (2-2, 8.02) will go for the Bulls against Alfredo Aceves, who is in his first start for the RailRiders this season.

And those starters are long forgotten by the time the game ends. The teams combine for 30 hits and 33 strikeouts — 18 of them by Bulls’ pitching — as the RailRiders win 10-8 in 13 innings.

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    Teams combine for 33 strikeouts in marathon contest.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Merritt, Mudcats take series lead over Nationals in pitchers' duel

Posted by on Sat, Apr 5, 2014 at 10:18 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in on the Carolina Mudcats, who are off to a 1-1 start heading into their first Saturday night home game of the season.

It’s Game 3 for new skipper Scooter Tucker against the Potomac Nationals - the current affiliates of the Washington Nationals, of course — who were long ago known as the Prince William Pirates.

Mudcats starter Ryan Merritt fires a strike against Potomac.
  • Photo by Dean Strickland O.D.
  • Mudcats starter Ryan Merritt fires a strike against Potomac.

Heading to the mound tonight for the Mudcats is Ryan Merritt (6-9, 3.42 at Lake County before a late callup to Zebulon last season.) The Nationals will counter with fellow southpaw Brett Mooneyham, who was 10-3 with a 1.94 ERA at Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League last year before a late-season callup to Potomac.

The Nationals have an area product in left fielder Will Piwnica-Worms, who was a non-drafted free agent out of Duke following the 2012 season.

The Mudcats need just three hits, getting great pitching all night in a 3-1 victory.

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    Carolina needs only three hits to top Potomac

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sands, Bulls come back to save Opening Night

Posted by on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 11:51 PM

The Durham Bulls showed off their massive new video board for the first time Thursday night.
  • Photo by Orin Day
  • The Durham Bulls showed off their massive new video board for the first time Thursday night.
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The password is “Bulls Reborn” as the Bulls’ yard has a whole new look and feel for its 20th season.

The place has undergone a $20 million renovation since last season, with a revamped entry plaza, a massive new video board inside the left-field “Blue Monster” and a huge club-level lounge behind home plate.

Manager Charlie Montoyo is back for his eighth season as the Bulls begin defense of their Governors’ Cup title against the South Division rival Gwinnett Braves. Gwinnett is managed for the first time by Brian Snitker, who was Durham’s Class A skipper in 1983-84 and ’87.

Nathan Karns (10-6, 3.26 at Harrisburg last season) will go against Gwinnett’s Gavin Floyd (0-4, 5.18) who is here on Major League rehab.

And the Bulls turn out to be up to the task tonight, recovering from a four-run deficit to nip the visitors 7-6.

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    Three homers help Bulls get popular comeback win.

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Play ball! Bulls, Mudcats open seasons in just a few hours

Posted by on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 12:19 AM

Pitching should be a strength as the Bulls open defense of their Governors Cup tonight.
They’re at both ends of the full-season minor-league spectrum.

The Durham Bulls, who have billed themselves as “America’s Favorite Minor League Team,” play at the Triple-A level, just one step from the Major League show.

In their 17th season as the top affiliates of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls are defending Governors Cup Champions and during their run have won that title four times plus one National Championship.

The Carolina Mudcats play in the storied Class A-Advanced Carolina League, where they have been for the past three seasons. The CL is known as a place that separates the wheat from the chaff and the men from the boys among minor-league prospects.

And as the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians, the Mudcats inherited a long winning tradition from when the team was known as the Kinston Indians.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park is due for a grand re-opening after a $20 million renovation, while the Mudcats’ Five County Stadium has a reputation as one of the best facilities in A-ball.

There will be high hopes all around as the teams open their seasons at home about 10 minutes apart.

Nathan Karns (10-6, 3.26 at Harrisburg in ’13) will take the mound at 6:05 for the Bulls against the Gwinnett Braves, skippered by long-ago former Bulls manager Brian Snitker. Gavin Floyd (0-4, 5.18 at Atlanta) is set to start for the G-Braves.

And the Mudcats will play their first game under new manager Scooter Tucker, who was at Lake County of the Midwest League last season. 2013 Mudcats manager David Wallace is now managing Double-A Akron.
Mudcats lefty Shawn Morimando (8-13, 3.73 in ’13) is set to fire his first pitch against the Potomac Nationals at 6:15.

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    $20M DBAP renovation unveils tonight

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Gaffe-r is right...he f8cks up all the time. "A lot of success over the last 3 years"....less smoke blows out …

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

OMG HAHAHA GREAT hire HAHAHAHA such a record of success :D

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

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