The Durham Bulls scored in the first four innings to give a record-setting Fourth of July crowd some early fireworks in a 6-2 win over Norfolk.
The win put the first-place Bulls eight and a half games ahead of the second-place Tides, and it came in front of the largest paid crowd in Durham Bulls Athletic Park history. The attendance of 11,754 bested the old mark, set on July 4, 2010 by 80 fans. It was also 362 more than May's ACC Tournament game between UNC and NC State, which set an attendance record for a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina.
Vince Belnome singled in Tim Beckham in the first to give the Bulls an early lead. They added to it with a Cole Figueroa RBI double and a Jesus Flores run-scoring single in the second. Mike Fontenot and Shelley Duncan added sacrifice flies to give the Bulls a 5-0 margin. Every Bulls batter in the starting lineup had a hit by the fifth inning.
Starter J.D. Martin (W, 10-4, 3.11) retired 12 batters in a row at one point and shut the Tides down on 5 hits over 6.1 innings, striking out four. The win gave him back a share of the IL lead in wins, along with fellow All-Star Greg Reynolds of Louisville.
The win was the Bulls fourth straight overall and third straight home win on the Fourth of July.
The abbreviated two-game homestand concludes Friday at 7:05pm. RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-1, 3.23) starts for the Bulls against LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (1-4, 5.74).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.