The Durham Bulls clinched their sixth International League South Division title in seven years, and eleventh in their 16 years in the IL with a 9-2 victory over the Charlotte Knights at the DBAP on Wednesday.
It matched the earliest that the Bulls have clinched a division title since joining the Triple-A classification. The 2010 team also clinched on August 21.
The Bulls fell behind early when Merrill Kelly gave up a first inning home to Brent Morel, but the Bulls bounced back with a run in their half of the first on Shelley Duncan's sacrifice fly.
Duncan, who is the only current Bull to win a Triple-A National Championship, in 2008 with Scranton, added a two-run homer in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Kevin Kiermaier had two hits and scored the Bulls first run. He also gave Durham the lead in the second with a two-run double. Jesus Flores had a bases-loaded single in the third that drove in two runs and added a third RBI in the seventh.
Mike Fontenot, the only current Bull with a World Series ring-from 2010 with the Giants-had a single, double, and scored twice.
Kelly (W, 8-3, 3.07) earned his second straight win with 7 innings of five-hit ball, striking out 6.
The Bulls will open the playoffs at home against the IL West division champion on September 4. In the more immediate future, the Bulls hit the road for two games in Norfolk. The first is at 7:05pm on Thursday. RHP Matt Buschmann (7-1, 2.94) starts for the Bulls against LHP Zach Britton (5-5, 4.74).
Bulls game story brought to you by Strayer University, Bringing Home the Bulls in September.