Bulls right fielder Josh Lowe launched a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth after starting pitcher Easton McGee fired five scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut as Durham clinched the Triple-A Final Stretch postseason tournament with a 5-3 victory over the Norfolk Tides on Saturday evening at
Bulls right fielder Josh Lowe launched a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth after starting pitcher Easton McGee fired five scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut as Durham clinched the Triple-A Final Stretch postseason tournament with a 5-3 victory over the Norfolk Tides on Saturday evening at Harbor Park.
The Triple-A Final Stretch featured all 30 Triple-A clubs playing a pair of five-game series. The Bulls are guaranteed at least a share of the best winning percentage in that span, however own the tiebreaker thanks to their Triple-A leading regular season win percentage.
Heading into the top of the ninth even at 3-3, 3B Vidal Brujan reached base on a one-out single and then moved to second on a groundout to set the stage for Lowe. On a 3-1 pitch, the Rays’ Minor League Player of the Year crushed an opposite field shot, his 22nd big fly the year, to give Durham the lead for good.
The Bulls struck first in the third when 1B Dalton Kelly’s laced an RBI single to center. The Tides, however, would plate a pair of tallies in the sixth to grab a 2-1 advantage. Two innings later, Durham C Rene Pinto bounced a game-tying RBI single before 2B Esteban Quiroz came plateward on a double play to give the Bulls the lead. Norfolk would then even the contest in the eighth before Lowe’s dramatic longball.
McGee (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced, scattering just three infield singles, though he did not factor in the final decisions. Bulls southpaw Dietrich Enns (2.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 3 K) earned the victory, while righty Shawn Armstrong (1.0 IP, H, K) notched the save. Tides righty Claudio Custodio (2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, K) suffered the loss.
With the win, Durham has won each of their last 11 games overall, including 16 of their most recent 17 contests. The Bulls have also posted an overall record of 86-43 this year, their highest tally above the .500 mark in 2021.
Durham faces Norfolk in their final game of 2021 on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05pm. RHP Calvin Faucher is slated to toe the rubber for the Bulls and be opposed by LHP Ryan Hartman.
The Bulls begin their 2022 campaign on the road in Nashville on Tuesday, April 5 before returning to the DBAP for a five-game series versus the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp starting on Tuesday, April 12. For more information on full-season and mini plan packages, please call 919.956.BULL.