RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond's Mike Rozema played the hero yet again Saturday afternoon.
The second baseman's RBI single in the seventh inning snapped a 1-1 tie and sparked the Braves to a three-run inning. The outburst allowed Richmond to slip past Durham, 6-2, at The Diamond and force a deciding Game 5 in the Governors' Cup Finals.
Both Richmond starter Jeff Bennett and Durham starter Jae Kuk Ryu pitched well before turning the game over to their respective bullpens with the game tied 1-1. Though the Bulls had ample opportunity to break the deadlock, it was Richmond that broke through first.
Wes Timmons negotiated a one-out walk off Brian Schackelford in the seventh. Durham manager Charlie Montoyo then brought in Dale Thayer to face Barbaro Canizares, who promptly hit a dribbler into the hole on the left side of the infield. Shortstop Brooks Badeaux knocked the ball down but had no play, giving the Braves runners on first and second.
Rozema, who had a homer and three RBIs in the Braves' Game 1 victory in Durham, followed with a looping single that ticked off the glove of second baseman Elliot Johnson, scoring Timmons. After Iker Franco popped out to first, Gregor Blanco hit a slow roller of his own into the hole on the right side and first baseman Chris Richard made a diving stop. But in his attempt to get Blanco at first, he threw wild, allowing Canizares to score. Brent Lillibridge added an RBI single to close out the rally.
The Braves added two runs in the eighth on Brandon Jones' solo homer and Wes Timmons' RBI single.
The late offensive outburst overshadowed a strong day for both starters. Bennett was coming back on three days' rest, while Ryu hadn't pitched since Aug. 30. While Bennett struggled a bit -- the Bulls had runners on base in five of the six innings he worked -- he was able to make it through 81 pitches and help force the nightcap.
Ryu, meanwhile, allowed only two hits in 5 2/3 innings, both of which came in the first.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first on Larry Bigbie's RBI double. The Bulls tied it up in the fourth when Justin Ruggiano sent the first Bennett offering he saw over the wall in right-center field. The homer was the first of the finals for Durham, which had connected for 10 homers in the opening round against Toledo. The shot also snapped a stretch of 38 1/3 homerless innings by Richmond pitchers.