DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls started their 2012 campaign in winning fashion, defeating the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 4-3 in extra innings on Opening Night. Will Rhymes scored the walk off run on a Shawn O'Malley ground ball, as the Bulls scored twice in the 12th to end the four hour affair. RHP Alex Cobb tossed 5.0 innings and struck out eight batters, but did not factor in the decision. RHP Ryan Reid (1-0, 0.00) earned the first victory of 2012 for the Bulls, while LHP Jose Lugo took the loss for the Braves.
Durham got on the board early with runs in the first and second innings. They would continue to lead 2-1 until the Braves tied the game in the eighth inning with a run off of Bulls righty Romulo Sanchez. The score would remain knotted until the top of the 12th inning, when J.C. Boscan hit his first home run since August 10, 2010 to put the G-Braves ahead.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Bulls rallied and tied the game. Catcher Chris Gimenez started the bottom of the extra frame with a single to right field and was advanced to second by a Kyle Hudson sacrifice bunt. Gimenez advanced again to third, when newcomer Rhymes singled to left-center field. Tim Beckham, 2008's top overall draft pick, grounded out but earned the RBI allowing Gimenez to score. O'Malley stepped up to the plate and hit a ground ball to Braves shortstop Josh Wilson, who bobbled the ball, allowing Rhymes to score the game winning run.
Several new Bulls shined in their first game at the DBAP. Rhymes led off the game with a single to center field and scored a run early in his first appearance as a Bull. On the night, the former Detroit Tiger went 2-for-6 with 2 runs scored, including the game winning run. Hudson, who started in left for the Bulls, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. The Bulls improved to 3-3 on Opening Night under Manager Charlie Montoyo's guidance.
The Bulls resume their Opening Week homestand tomorrow night when they take on the Gwinnett Braves in game two of the four game series. LHP Alex Torres (9-7 3.08) will make his 2012 debut for the Bulls against RHP Eric Cordier (5-9, 5.14). Bunny makes a visit to the DBAP courtesy of Time Warner Cable, in addition to the season's first Friday Night Fireworks show. Game time is set for 7:05pm at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.