|Bulls Break Attendance Record In First Home Game
Upton Hits Walk-Off Slam in Home Opener
Bulls fans came out in record numbers for the team’s home opener on April 14th.
B.J. Upton hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Bulls a 5-4 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens in their 2006 Home Opener on Friday, April 14th. In front of a record crowd of 11,060, Upton crushed a first-pitch fastball from Toledo pitcher Mark Woodyard over the wall in left field.
Despite a strong start from Jamie Shields (6.1 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts), the Bulls found themselves trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Shawn Riggans and Brent Butler drew walks from former Bull Lee Gardner, then Darnell McDonald did the same with a 3-2 count and two outs. After a pitching change to bring in Woodyard, Upton smacked the first pitch he saw over the Blue Monster for the win. He also stole his International League leading eighth steal in the third inning. Darnell McDonald and Delmon Young also contributed two hits as the Bulls’ record climbed to 8-1.
RHP Justin Miller (2-0) picked up the win in relief by pitching one inning and allowing no runs with two strikeouts. Woodyard (0-2) got the loss allowing the grand slam to Upton, the first batter he faced.
Notes… The crowd of 11,060 was the highest crowd in Durham Bulls history, surpassing the crowd of 10,916 recorded on July 3rd, 2001. J.J. Redick, college basketball’s player of the year, took batting practice with the Bulls prior to the game. Highlights of his BP were run on ESPN’s Sportscenter that evening. The Bulls opening night was also featured on CBS Sunday Morning News.
Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & photo.