Charlotte, NC --- Nick Ciuffo and Nick Solak blasted home runs to lead the Durham Bulls past the Charlotte Knights 4-3 on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark.
The Bulls (29-19) scored twice in the top of the first against Ross Detwiler (L, 1-1) thanks to three singles and two productive groundouts. MIke Brosseau singled home Solak, then a one-out groundout from Christian Arroyo brought home Jake Cronenworth for a 2-0 lead.
In the last of the first, Durham starter Arturo Reyes (W, 3-1) issued a four-pitch walk with two outs ahead of a two-run homer by Matt Skole to center to draw the Knights (26-20) level.
Ciuffo connected to left field against the lefty Detwiler to begin the second inning to put Durham ahead 3-2.
The score remained until Solak clubbed a home run against the left-centerfield bike rack in the eighth against Carson Fulmer to put the Bulls ahead 4-2.
After Reyes worked six innings, Cole Sulser and Colin Poche each pitched a scoreless frame. Andrew Kittredge, who worked an inning on Friday night, was called upon to close out the game.
Kittredge, who entered the night on a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings, hit Paulo Orlando with his first pitch. Adam Engel whipped a triple into the left field corner to score Orlando to make it 4-3. Bulls left fielder Kean Wong injured himself chasing down Engel's triple, and had to be removed from the game. Kittredge took advantage of the brief lapse in action to strike out Ryan Goins with the infield in.
After pinch-hitter Zach Collins was offiically announced, Bulls manager Brady Williams intentionally walked him to put the winning run aboard. Kittredge then fanned Joel Booker, who chased a pitch in the dirt that catcher Nick Ciuffo blocked, but initially wasn't aware where the ball was. Engel held at third, while Collins took second as the ball lay in the back of the right-handed batters box.
With the tying and winning runs in scoring position, Kittredge (S, 4) whiffed Danny Mendick to close out the one-run win.
The Bulls are now 20-0 in games where they lead heading into the ninth inning.
Reyes permitted five hits and three walks over six innings to earn the win, without striking out a hitter.
With his first inning single, Brosseau's hitting streak was extended to a team-high 13 games.
The series continues Sunday night with Jake Cronenworth (0-0, 0.00) slated to open for the Bulls, making his second professional pitching performance. Jake Faria (4-1, 6.40) is slated to throw the bulk of the innings for the Bulls, and will be opposed by Odrisamer Despaigne (3-2, 3.74) at 7:04 PM ET.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.