DURHAM, NC - Nevin Ashley's 4th inning home run propelled the Bulls past the Norfolk Tides 3-2 on Thursday night at the DBAP. Durham has now won three straight contests and two in a row over Norfolk.
The Tides jumped out to a quick lead thanks the first of Xavier Avery's three singles on the night. Avery then scored on a double off of the bat of Ryan Adams to give the Tides a 1-0 edge.
The Bulls bats backed up their starter Jim Paduch (W, 6-9, 5.52) the following inning though, turning a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead. Rich Thompson led off the Durham attack with a double off of the Blue Monster. After Cole Figueroa singled to move Thompson to third, Chris Gimenez hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Brooks Conrad then singled to plate Figueroa.
A leadoff walk to Brandon Waring in the top of the third would prove to be costly, as the Tides knotted the game up at 2-2. Paduch loaded the bases for Endy Chavez, who drove in Waring with a sacrifice fly to center. In danger of Norfolk breaking the game open, Paduch induced a 5-4-3 double play to retire the side. Durham turned a season-high five double plays in the contest, including three that were started by Figueroa.
With the game tied at two all in the fourth, Ashley stepped to plate and cranked his fifth home run of the season, giving the Bulls a 3-2 lead.
Paduch finished strong, tossing six solid innings, allowing seven hits while striking out four. Ryan Reid and Frank De Los Santos added two more scoreless innings to pave the way for Brandon Gomes. Gomes shut down the Tides, earning his career-best eighth save of the season.
Bulls' fans enjoyed a special visit before the game from Olympic medalists and Duke student-athletes Abby Johnston and Nick McCrory. The synchronized diving medalists showed off their medals with fans after they threw out ceremonial first pitches, also in synchronization.
The Tides and Bulls continue their five game series tomorrow evening at 7:05pm. RHP Jason Berken (4-5, 3.45) takes the hill against Bulls' win leader RHP Matt Torra (11-6, 4.14). Following tomorrow night's contest against Norfolk, the Bulls will light up the Downtown Durham sky with Friday Night Fireworks.