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.