Bligh Madris earns MVP honors with four hits, Tristan Gray punctuates comeback with massive three-run blast
Bulls left fielder Bligh Madris mashed four hits and drove in four runs to earn Most Valuable Player honors, while shortstop Tristan Gray crushed a clutch three-run home run in the ninth to give Durham a 10-6 victory over the Reno Aces on Sunday night at Las Vegas Ballpark. The victory was the Bulls franchise’s third win in the Triple-A National Championship Game, and their fourth Triple-A National Championship.
Entering the top of the ninth down 6-5, Madris tied the game with his fourth hit, an RBI double to center. C Rene Pinto would then drive in the go-ahead run with an RBI single before Gray put the exclamation mark on the win with his massive three-run blast to right-center.
The Bulls got on the board in the opening frame courtesy of Pinto’s RBI double. One inning later, 2B Xavier Edwards would then bashed a run-scoring double off the top of the left field before scoring on Madris’s two-run double down the right field line, extending the advantage to 4-0. The Aces countered, however, narrowing the margin to one with a three-run bottom of the second before grabbing the 5-4 lead with a pair of tallies in the third. Madris would tie the game again in the seventh with an RBI single before Reno took back the lead in the next inning.
Madris (4-5, 2 2B, 4 RBI) led all batters with four hits, with Pinto (2-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI), Gray and Edwards (2-3, 3 R, 2B, RBI, BB) each adding multi-hit efforts. Madris in 12 games with the Bulls, including the International League and Triple-A National Championship Games, combined for a .380 average (19-50) with 11 runs, seven doubles, four homers and 23 RBI, with hits in six of nine postseason at-bats, including four doubles and eight RBI.
Bulls reliever Yonny Chirinos (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO) fired 4.2 scoreless innings of relief, while righty Chris Muller (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 SO) earned the victory. Reno righty JB Wendelken (0.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB) suffered the defeat.
Durham begins their 2023 season at home on Friday, March 31 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park to start a three-game set versus Norfolk. Season ticket packages, including 919 Club Memberships and Mini Plans are now available, and can be purchased by contacting the Durham Bulls Ticket Department at 919-956-BULL.
Thanks to DBBC’s Andrew Green for this Capcom story & photo.