DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls held the Louisville Bats to just one hit in a 9-0 victory Sunday evening at the DBAP, taking the rubber match of the three-game set.
Southpaw Blake Snell (2-2) - Tampa Bay's top-ranked pitching prospect - earned the win by tossing five hitless innings in his fourth career Triple-A start, striking out nine and walking just two. Following his departure after 62 pitches, Everett Teaford, CJ Riefenhauser and Jim Miller combined for four scoreless innings to preserve Durham's 11th shutout of 2015. Only Kristopher Negron's one-out single in the fifth prevented the Bulls from tossing what would have been the team's fourth combined no-hitter in its Triple-A era.
The Durham offense turned in a strong outing as well, plating nine runs behind three three-run innings. In the first inning the Bulls (56-59) got things started when Taylor Motter doubled off the Blue Monster, scoring Jake Elmore. After Motter's double Mikie Mahtook lined a two-run single to leftfield, as the home side opened up a 3-0 advantage.
In the third the Bulls struck again, as Mahtook lined a three-run home run off the leftfield foul pole after Elmore had singled and Motter had walked. Then Durham blew the game open in the fourth, when Joey Rickard delivered a two-out, bases-loaded triple to extend the home lead to 9-0.
Brandon Finnegan (0-1) took the loss for Louisville, allowing seven runs on six hits over 3 2/3 innings. Mahtook finished 2-for-4 and tied a career-high with five RBI, while Rickard also chipped in a two-hit outing.
Durham hits the road Monday for the first of four straight contests against the Norfolk Tides, and the first of two games on the road at Harbor Park. RHP Dylan Floro (9-11, 4.99) will go for Durham while LHP Chris Jones (6-6, 3.08) makes the start for first-place Norfolk.