Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bulls stave off elimination, walk off with 3-2 victory

Leslie Anderson's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth plated Elliot Johnson with the winning run as the Bulls defeated the Columbus Clippers, 3-2 on Thursday night in Game Three of the Governors' Cup Finals. With the Bulls winning in their final at-bat for the 16th time on the season, the team forced a Game Four on Friday night at 7:05 PM at the DBAP.

The two teams remained scoreless through the first four innings, as Bulls right-hander Alex Cobb and Clippers righty Yohan Pino combined to allow just four hits through that span. Cobb left after four innings with an injury, as R.J. Swindle came out of the bullpen to work a scoreless top of the fifth.

In the bottom of the inning, Durham's offense finally broke through after a costly defensive miscue by Columbus. With Angel Chavez on second with one out, Rashard Eldridge singled to center field and the ball skipped under the glove of Ezequiel Carrera for a two-base error as the Bulls went ahead 1-0. A sacrifice fly by Fernando Perez brought home Eldridge, making it a two run lead after five innings of play.

Wes Hodges made it 2-1 with a solo home run off Swindle in the sixth inning, his third home run of the postseason.

It would be Hodges again in the eighth as Columbus tied the game at two with a single tally against Bulls righty Joe Bateman. After a double by Cord Phelps, Hodges hit a line drive off the Blue Monster in left for a double of his own to tie the game. It was Hodges 10th RBI of the Governors' Cup Playoffs, and he finished the night 2-for-4 to raise his average to .346.

The Bulls offense broke the tie in the ninth, loading the bases with nobody out off against Clippers right-hander Josh Just. Singles by Elliot Johnson and Justin Ruggiano started the inning, before a walk to Chris Richard loaded the bases for Anderson. The Bulls slugger fouled off the first two pitches, before lining a Judy offering into center field which Carrera had to leap for. Johnson slid across safely with the winning run, as the Bulls force a game four tomorrow night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Tomorrow's matchup will pit RHP Paul Phillips (1-0 1.69) for the Bulls against RHP Paolo Espino (3-3 5.62) for Columbus. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. and the Bulls hope all fans will stick around after the game for fireworks as the Bulls look to tie the series at two games apiece.

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