The first-place Durham Bulls came from behind to win their fifth straight game, 6-5 over the Charlotte Knights at the DBAP on Thursday night. The victory was the fourth in a row over the Knights in a home-and-home series.
Vince Belnome led off the ninth with a triple off the wall in right center, and Leslie Anderson singled him home with the game-winner. It was Anderson's fourth walk-off hit as a Bull, breaking a tie with Ray Olmedo and giving him the second-most Bulls walk-off blows in the last decade. Justin Ruggiano's six are the most.
The Bulls set the stage for their ninth-inning heroics with a two-run rally in the eighth to tie the game. Ryan Roberts hit his first Bulls home run, a deep fly ball that cleared the snorting bull sign in left, to lead off the inning. It was Roberts' first homer since May 16, with the Rays, against the Red Sox. Mike Fontenot singled for his fourth hit of the game and scored on a wild pitch and throwing error to tie the game.
The Bulls took an early lead with two first-inning runs. Cole Figueroa singled and scored when left fielder Tyler Greene had trouble handling Belnome's single. Anderson's sacrifice fly scored Tim Beckham.
The Bulls added another run in the second when Fontenot singled, advanced to third on Chris Gimenez's double, and scored on Evan Frey's grounder.
The Knights came back to take the lead with runs in four straight innings. Home runs by Cody Puckett and Steve Tolleson were the big blows. Cory Wade (W, 3-1, 1.95) got the win with 1.2 innings of shutout relief. Deunte Heath (L, 2-1, 2.25) suffered the loss.
The win moved the Bulls to a season-high 10 and a half games in front in the IL South division and improved them to a season-high 25 games over .500.
The Gwinnett Braves come to town next, kicking off a three-game series at the DBAP that will take the Bulls into the All-Star Break. The first game is 7:05pm on Friday night. RHP Merrill Kelly (3-0, 2.03) starts for the Bulls against Gwinnett's RHP David Hale (3-4, 3.42).