The force was most definitely strong with young Jonathon Niese on Friday.
The southpaw hurled shutout baseball into the eighth inning and flirted with history as the Bisons blanked the Durham Bulls, 1-0, in front of 12, 422 at Coca-Cola Field on Star Wars Night.
Niese was the star of this game, earning his first victory of the season with a masterful performance. He retired 16 of the first 18 batters he faced and took a no-hitter three batters deep into the sixth inning. Rashad Eldridge broke up the no-no with a clean double to right field with two outs into the sixth.
Prior to that, Niese had allowed just two Durham batters to reach base. Eldridge reached on an error to lead off the game but was left stranded. Chris Nowak drew a walk off the Bisons southpaw in the second inning, but he was quickly erased by a double play two pitches later.
Working with a 1-0 lead, Niese allowed a second hit in the seventh inning, but kept the Bulls off the scoreboard. He finally had to be relieved three batters into the eighth as Brandon Chaves walked and pinch hitter John Jaso reached on an error. Niese ended his gem with seven strikeouts, three walks and only two hits allowed in 7.1 innings.
Elmer Dessens made the lead stand up for his ninth save of the season. He got the final two outs in the eighth inning before striking out the side in the ninth.
The Bisons scored the only run they would need in the second inning. Back-to-back doubles from Rene Rivera and Mike Lamb gave Buffalo the 1-0 advantage.
BISONS NOTES:Elmer Dessens is now tied for sixth in the International League with his nine saves...The Bisons struck out just three times at the plate. In the two games against Durham, the team has drawn nine walks and only struck out four times...Prior to the game, the Mets selected the contract of LHP Jon Switzer.-the herd-
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.