The IL South Champion Durham Bulls dropped the opening game of a short two-game series with Charlotte on Monday, falling 4-3 to the Knights in their next to last regular season home game of the year.
For the second straight night, the Bulls led off the game with a single, and then saw their bats go into a deep freeze. After being held to five hits against Norfolk on Sunday, the Bulls were limited to six scattered hits on Monday.
Charlotte wasted no time in getting to Durham starter Merrill Kelly (L, 8-4, 3.10). Kelly gave up a double and RBI single on the first two batters of the game.
After a pair of doubles in the second gave Charlotte a 2-0 lead, the Bulls rallied in the fourth. Two walks and a Vince Belnome single loaded the bases with no outs. Unlike Sunday, when Durham couldn't score in a similar situation, the Bulls cashed in this time.
Ryan Roberts broke an 0-for-26 slump with his first hit since July 28, a bases-clearing double to center field to put the Bulls up, 3-2.
The lead was short-lived, however. Tim Beckham's two-out error allowed Brent Morel to reach in the fifth. Morel then scored an unearned run on Travis Ishikawa's double to give the Knights the lead.
The Bulls left a runner on third in the eighth and then stranded tying and winning runs in the ninth. Charlotte's Charlie Leesman (W, 4-3, 3.87) went six innings for the win. Deunte Heath pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
The Bulls and Knights complete the two-game series on Tuesday, in the Bulls' final regular season game at the DBAP. RHP Matt Buschmann (7-1, 2.83) starts for the Bulls against RHP Nick McCully (2-3, 6.32).
Bulls game story brought to you by Strayer University, Bringing Home the Bulls in September.