Louisville, KY- The Louisville Bats rallied for two in the ninth but left the bases loaded as they fell to the Bulls in the first game of a four-game series. 9,332 fans were in attendance as the Bats and Bulls returned to action following the All-Star break.
The Bulls got on the board first when Chris Richard delivered a 405-foot home run to right field to put Durham up 1-0 in the second inning.
The Bulls held the lead until the Bats tied it in the fifth. Craig Tatum led off the inning with a walk and Drew Sutton followed with a single to left, advancing Tatum to second. Darnell McDonald then grounded out to second, moving Sutton to second and Tatum to third. Following a Chris Heisey walk to load the bases, Kevin Barker blasted a line drive single to center, scoring Tatum. Sutton was thrown out at home by center fielder Ray Sadler, ending the inning.
Henry Mateo started the sixth with a double to center field as the Bulls looked to quickly retake the lead. Ray Olmedo followed with a single to third. Chris Richard then delivered his second RBI of the game, with a single to left field, scoring Mateo.
Durham added another in the seventh. Jon Weber doubled on a fly to center field. Craig Albernaz then singled on a line to center, scoring Weber and giving the Bulls a 3-1 lead.
The Bulls played add-on in the ninth as they increased their lead to 4-1. Ray Sadler led off the inning with a single and Craig Albernaz followed with a single to center field, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Olmedo then delivered a chopper over the third baseman's head, scoring Sadler.
Down 4-1, the Bats rallied in the ninth. Michael Griffin started the inning off with a double to left and Tatum then singled off the wall in left, scoring Griffin. Drew Sutton followed with a double down the right field line, scoring Tatum and cutting the lead to 4-3. A Chris Heisey groundout advanced runners to second and third with only one out. After an intentional walk to Kevin Barker, Joe Bateman was able to secure the lead by striking out Wes Bankston and Chris Valaika to end the game.
Matt Maloney (6-6, 2.50) took the loss for the Bats. The south paw went six-and-two-thirds innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, while walking one and striking out eight.
Jason Cromer (3-2, 1.78) picked up the win for the Bulls, going five-and-two-thirds innings, giving up seven hits, one run. He walked five and struck out three.
The Bats will play game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. The probable pitcher for the Bats is RHP Ramon Ramirez (4-6, 4.50) and RHP Wade Davis (8-5, 3.12) will take the mound for the Bulls.