Bulls right fielder Ruben Cardenas clubbed two hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs, while shortstop Tristan Gray left the yard and reached base in all five plate appearances, and third baseman Vidal Brujan broke the game open with a two-run double as part of a five-run eighth
Bulls right fielder Ruben Cardenas clubbed two hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs, while shortstop Tristan Gray left the yard and reached base in all five plate appearances, and third baseman Vidal Brujan broke the game open with a two-run double as part of a five-run eighth inning to give Durham a 10-5 victory over the Norfolk Tides in Game One of the International League Championship Series at Harbor Park.
With the win, the Bulls take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, giving Durham a chance to earn their ninth International League Championship in Game Two on Wednesday evening. The winner of the three-game set will face the Pacific Coast League victory in the Triple-A National Championship Game in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 30.
Gray got the Bulls on the board with a 428-foot homer to right in the second, before Cardenas crushed a solo blast in the following frame to make it a 2-0 advantage. Norfolk would then even the contest in the last of the third before plating the go-ahead tally in the fifth. Cardenas would later come through in the seventh with his go-ahead two-run single to give the Bulls a lead they would not relinquish.
Durham would then add insurance in the following frame with their five-run eighth. C Logan Driscoll began the big inning with an RBI single to center to push the Bulls advantage to 5-3. 1B Evan Edwards would then draw a bases-loaded walk before Brujan bashed a two-run double to left to open the margin to 8-3 before the fifth run of the frame came across on fielder’s choice. Driscoll would then bring home this second run of the night with a single to right in the ninth before Norfolk plated two tallies in the ninth.
Cardenas (2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB), Gray (2-2, 3 R, 1 HR, 3 BB), Brujan (2-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI), and Driscoll (2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB) all collected two knocks in the victory. Including last season’s International League and Triple-A Championship title games, Gray has posted a multi-hit effort in all three of his career postseason contests with the Bulls.
Durham reliever Josh Fleming (2.0 IP, 4 SO) earned the victory with two scoreless frames in support of starter Cooper Criswell (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO). Norfolk righty Garrett Stallings (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) suffered the defeat.
The two teams are set to square off in Game Two of their best-of-three series, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm at Harbor Park. RHP Carlos Garcia is anticipated to get the nod for the Bulls and be opposed by LHP Cole Irvin.
The Bulls begin the 2024 campaign on the road before beginning their home slate at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday April 3 against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. For more information on the 2024 season, please visit DurhamBulls.com.