The Durham Bulls completed their four game series sweep of the Buffalo Bisons tonight, defeating the Herd 8-3. The sweep was the first time the Herd was swept in a four game series since Toledo took four straight from the Bisons in a series from August 1 to August 4 during last season. The loss was also the fifth straight for the Herd, their longest losing streak of the season.
Durham started off the scoring when Desmond Jennings was driven home by a double from Matt Joyce in the third inning. Jennings, the number six overall prospect in baseball, reached base after a triple with two outs.
Jennings sent a line drive just past the center fielder Fernando Martinez who took an awkward angle at the ball, allowing it to roll to the wall. The speedy Jennings then hustled to third to record his second triple of the series to extend the inning.
Starting pitcher Pat Misch was unable to record the final out of the third when he walked second baseman Elliot Johnson and first baseman Ryan Shealy. Third baseman Angel Chavez then doubled to left to score Johnson and Joyce. Misch was only able to get out of the inning when Shealy over-ran third base and was tagged out by Mike Cervenak but the damage was done as the Bulls scored an early three runs.
After the Bulls added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth inning, the Bisons were finally able to put some runs on the board in the seventh. After Cervenak, Martinez and designated hitter Valentino Pascucci loaded the base paths with just one out, catcher Josh Thole had a chance to wake up the recently anemic bats of the Herd.
Thole did just that when he hit a line drive down the left field line that stayed just fair allowing Cervenak and Martinez to score. Those would be the only two runs the Herd would be able to score as left fielder Marshall Hubbard and second baseman Andy Green were retired to end the inning.
Before Thole was able to drive in his 14th and 15th RBI of the season the Bisons were slumping offensively. After starting the road trip with a bang by scoring 31 runs off of 45 hits in the first three games of the trip the Herd's bats had gone silent.
After those three offensive explosions the Herd have recently been struggling to drive in runs. Going back to last night the Herd was held scoreless for 14 consecutive innings before Thole's two RBI double ended that streak. The Herd were also shut-out twice on the trip after only being previously shut-out only twice all season.
The Bisons pitching staff was unable to find an answer for Chavez all night. The second baseman terrorized the Herd, going 4-4 while driving in three runs and scoring a run himself. Misch was chased from the game early after throwing five innings of work giving up seven hits and allowing four runs while throwing 115 pitches.
For the Herd, Thole, Martinez, Cervenak and right fielder Russ Adams were the only ones able to collect hits on the night. The Bulls starting pitcher Aneury Rodriguez had himself a solid start. Rodriguez went six and a third innings while only giving up four hits that led to two runs.
The loss now drops the Herd to 33-29 while the Bulls improve to 37-24.
BISONS NOTES: Manager Ken Oberkfell and relief pitcher John Luhan were ejected in the eighth inning when Luhan hit a batter after both sides were warned. After an eight game road trip where the Herd went 3-5, the Bisons will return home for an eight game home stand. Coca-Cola field has been good to the Bisons as they have a winning record of 19-11 at home. The Bisons will take on Lehigh Valley tomorrow with starting pitcher Bobby Livingston (2-6, 4.43 ERA) takes on Iron Pig Drew Carpenter (5-4, 3.58 ERA). -the herd-
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.