COLUMBUS, OH - The Durham Bulls rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park Thursday night in Game Two of the best-of-Five First Round, earning a split through the series' first two contests.
Entering the ninth inning trailing 3-2, Vince Belnome worked a one-out walk for Durham before Nick Franklin followed with a single. Mike Fontenot then delivered a single to right, scoring pinch-runner Ray Olmedo to tie the game at 3-3. After a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning, Cole Figueroa led off the 10th with a triple to center field, and scored three batters later when Tim Beckham hit a sacrifice fly to center. In the bottom of the 10th, Durham's Pitcher of the Year Adam Liberatore retired the side in order to earn the save.
In the regular season, the Bulls were a league-worst 1-56 when trailing after eight innings, while the Clippers were a league-best 65-0 when taking a lead into the ninth frame.
For the second night in a row Columbus plated the game's first run, as Audy Ciriaco hit a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning.
In the fourth the Bulls countered when Beckham doubled and scored on Belnome's RBI single to right field. An inning later the Clippers retook the lead though. After retiring the first two batters, southpaw Enny Romero issued a walk, a single and a walk to load the bases before Giovanny Urshela delivered a two-run single to left field for a 3-1 Columbus lead.
In the seventh Durham pulled to within one when Franklin scored on Luke Maile's single to left field. Maile, promoted to Durham from Double-A Montgomery for the playoffs, went 1-for-4 in his first career Triple-A contest.
Right-hander Josh Lueke (1-0) picked up the victory in relief, tossing two perfect innings while striking out two. Lueke, Liberatore and Merrill Kelly combined for five innings of scoreless baseball out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and striking out four. Tyler Sturdevant (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing the winning run to score in the 10th inning.
Offensively for Durham Franklin led the way with a 3-for-4 night, contributing an RBI and a run, while Figueroa tallied a two-hit night, scoring the game's decisive run.
The series shifts to Durham for Games Three, Four and Five (if necessary) beginning with Game Three Friday night. The Bulls send RHP Matt Andriese (11-8, 3.77) to the mound against rehabbing RHP Shaun Marcum (1-0, 2.35) for Columbus. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.