Bulls Head Into Playoffs on High Note, Win 80th Game
Justin Ruggiano hits a homer to help push the Bulls ahead to the Southern division champs.
Mitch Talbot pitches the Bulls to victory.
Justin Ruggiano and Mitch Talbot made history on Monday, as the Bulls tuned up for the playoffs with a 2-1 at Charlotte.
Ruggiano belted an opposite field homer to right in the third, his 20th. He’s the first Triple-A Bull to hit at least 20 homers and steal at least 20 bases in a season, and the first since Ron Gant did so for the Carolina League Bulls in 1986.
Ruggiano’s homer gave Durham a 1-0 lead, but former Bull Earl Snyder homered in the sixth off Talbot to tie the score at one. Durham took the lead right back in the seventh as Elliott Johnson reached on an error by pitcher Charlie Haeger, stole second, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on Jon Weber’s sac fly.
The run put Talbot on the winning side of the ledger. Talbot went 6.2 innings, allowing just a run on six hits. He tied current Scranton pitching coach Dave Eiland with his 13th win, a single-season Bulls Triple-A record. Eiland won 13 games in 1998.
Chad Orvella and two other relievers allowed just one hit over the final 2.1 innings, as Orvella earned his 20th save. Durham ends the regular season at 80-63, a season-high 17 games over .500, after taking three of four from Charlotte.
The Bulls, who won the South Division, face two-time defending Governor’s Cup champ Toledo on Wednesday in Durham to begin the first round of the playoffs, sponsored by Time Warner Cable. Lefty JP Howell draws the game one assignment against righty Dennis Tankersley. Coverage on 620 the Bull at 6:30, with first pitch at 7. Tickets are available by calling 956-BULL or on the Durham Bulls website.
Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & these capcom photos.