DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls fell into any early hole and couldn't complete the comeback, falling 7-5 against Lehigh Valley Thursday night at the DBAP. Nick Pivetta (3-1) picked up the win for the IronPigs, while Oliver Drake (1-2) suffered the loss for the Bulls.
After a scoreless first inning, Drake ran into trouble in the second as the IronPigs offense broke through. Damek Tomscha hit a two-run double to put the IronPigs ahead, and Gift Ngoepe added on immediately with a two-run double of his own to take a 4-0 lead. The lead was extended to 5-0 thanks to an Ali Castillo RBI-single, before the Bulls finally stopped the bleeding.
Durham was able to get one back in the bottom of the third, when Nathan Lukes hit a solo home run to deep right field to make it 5-1. From that point, both offenses went silent, with Pivetta and Bulls reliever Ricardo Pinto matching each other strike-for-strike.
Pinto was relieved in the seventh inning by Mike Franco, who allowed an RBI sacrifice bunt by Malquin Canelo to make it 6-1. The IronPigs struck once again in the top of eighth inning, thanks to a Deivy Grullon RBI double to make it 7-1. Christian Arroyo was able to get a late run back for the Bulls on a bases-loaded walk, and Nick Solak added an RBI sacrifice fly to make it 7-3 in the eighth inning.
The Bulls made a late push in the ninth inning, bringing the tying run to the plate. Jake Cronenworth drove in a run on an RBI double to make it 7-4, then Kean Wong recorded an RBI sacrifice fly to shrink the deficit to 7-5. However, the Bulls couldn't break through, as IronPigs reliever Yacksel Rios recorded the save to prevent Durham from sweeping the three-game series.
The Bulls will begin a three-game set against the Rochester Red Wings at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the DBAP. Bulls left-hander Ryan Yarbrough will face off against Red Wings left-hander Devin Smeltzer.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.