Lawrenceville, GA -- Pedro Ciriaco trumped his game-tying single in the ninth with a game-winning single in the 11th to lead Gwinnett past Durham 5-4 in 11 innings on Friday night.
Ciriaco, who finished his 4-6 night with four straight singles, blooped the winner over first baseman Vince Belnome's head with two outs in the 11th inning to end a 3-hour, 29-minute affair after rain delayed the start by nearly an hour and a half.
Durham (1-1) gave starter Everett Teaford a 2-0 lead after two innings thanks to a wild pitch scoring Ryan Brett in the first inning and a Ciriaco error in the second.
Teaford worked five scoreless innings in his Rays' organizational debut. But in the sixth, Jim Patterson was touched for three hits, a walk and a pair of errors by Hak-Ju Lee and Brett on exchanges at second base on force plays. By the time the inning ended, Gwinnett (1-1) had batted around and scored three times for a 3-2 lead.
The Bulls waited until the ninth for their dramatics, loading the bases with no outs before a pair of grounders to Ciriaco at third led to two force outs at the plate. Still trailing 3-2, an injury to Gwinnett closer Bryce Feigl forced him out of the game with a 3-0 count on Jake Elmore. John Cornley inherited the count and walked Elmore on the next pitch to tie the game. Joey Butler followed with a single to left to put Durham ahead 4-3, while Alexi Casilla was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
CJ Riefenhauser returned to the mound in the last of the ninth, allowing a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt to place the tying run at third. After a short pop out, Ciriaco swatted a 2-2 pitch to center to tie the game 4-4.
In the 11th, Ciriaco came through again against Bryce Stowell (L, 0-1). Braeden Schlaehuber singled, then was lifted for a pinch-runner in Cedric Hunter. After a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, Stowell fanned Eury Perez. Ciriaco then battled Stowell before looping the game-winning hit over Belnome at first for the win.
The series continues Saturday with the third game of the series at 7:05 PM ET. Matt Buschmann, who pitched for the Bulls in 2013, will make his 2015 debut.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.