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Herd Falls to Louisville, 3-107/23/2009 9:29 PM ET
By Tim Doohan / Buffalo Bisons
Nelson Figueroa had his customary quality start, but it wasn't enough on Thursday night, as the Bats used the left arm of Ben Jukich to down the Herd, 3-1, from Louisville Slugger Field and take the series from the Bisons three games to one.
Jukich retired the first 15 batters in a row to start the game. The first Bisons hit was a soft grounder to shortstop Chris Valaika to lead off the sixth inning that catcher Robinson Cancel was able to leg out. Jukich quickly erased the hit by inducing Andy Green to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
The lanky lefty, far from overpowering, kept the ball away from the sweet spot on the Buffalo bats all night as the Bisons hit several pop-ups and weak groundballs to Louisville infielders.
The only offense the Bisons could muster all game came in the top of the seventh when Javier Castillo lined a single up the middle and Nick Evans followed with double off the wall in right-center to plate the first and only Bisons run and cut the Bats lead in half.
Evans' double chased Jukich from the game after 6.2 innings, three hits, one walk, and five punch outs.
The southpaw flirted with a no-hitter for the second time in as many starts. His last time out, Jukich took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Durham, only to see the Bulls come back and win the ballgame 3-2 in 16 innings.
Figueroa was effective yet again for Buffalo, turning in his ninth consecutive quality start, going seven innings, allowing nine hits, three earned runs, and striking out six.
The loss snaps a streak of six consecutive winning decisions for Figueroa, whose offense didn't give him much help again on Thursday. This season, the offense has scored less than three runs a game in support of the veteran right-hander.
The Bats pitching staff held the Herd offense down all series long, surrendering only six runs in the four-game set.
Eric Eymann put the Bats in front early with a two-out, RBI double in the second inning scoring Kevin Barker who led off the inning with a double.
The Bats pushed across the would be winning run in the sixth on a double-play ball hit by Barker that scored Kevin Heisey, who doubled to lead off the frame.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.