Allard, Franco Carry Stripers to 3-2 Victory in Durham
DURHAM, NC - The Gwinnett Stripers won their third game in a row Thursday night by holding on to beat the Durham Bulls by a 3-2 score in the opening game of a four-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
For the second straight game, the Stripers scored in their first at-bat, as after Danny Santana led off the game with a single, Carlos Franco (11) drilled a 3-1 pitch from Durham starter Yonny Chirinos over the centerfield wall for a 2-0 lead.
The lead was pushed to 3-0 in the top of the fourth as Xavier Avery drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk from Chirinos, pushing in Michael Reed from third.
Durham made a push to tie it in the bottom of the fifth against Gwinnett starter Kolby Allard. With one out, Michael Russell reached on a bunt single. Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to right moving Russell to third. A single to center by Nick Ciuffo plated Russell to cut the lead to 3-1, and a two-out bloop single to left by Kean Wong scored Hazelbaker, making it 3-2. But Allard got Brandon Snyder to fly out to keep the Bulls from tying.
Chad Bell (H, 1) pitched a scoreless seventh and Jason Hursh (H, 1) worked a scoreless eighth, striking out the side.
The bottom of the ninth inning was both thrilling and scary for the players and the 10,137 fans in attendance. Josh Ravin had entered the game from the bullpen to begin the half inning and, on his first pitch, Justin Williams drilled a line drive back to the mound that caught Ravin squarely in the head. After many tense minutes, Ravin was able to stand and was carted off the field to a local hospital. Updates on his condition were not immediately available.
The injury brought in Evan Phillips out of the bullpen, and after the Bulls pushed a runner to third with two outs, Phillips (S, 5) struck out Ji-Man Choi for the final out.
Allard (W, 5-2) notched his ninth consecutive quality start by going 6.0 innings with seven hits, two earned runs, one walk and seven strikeouts on 89 pitches. He also picked a runner off first base in the second.
Chirinos (L, 0-1) pitched 4.2 innings with four hits, three earned runs, two walks allowed with three strikeouts. Andrew Kittredge worked 2.0 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Jaime Schultz went 0.2 of an inning with one walk and two strikeouts. Colin Poche tossed 1.2 innings with one hit and two strikeouts.
At the plate, Franco was 1-for-4 with a homer and his International League-leading 42nd and 43rd RBIs. Avery and Phil Gosselin were each 1-for-3, each tallying a walk to boot. Reed was 1-for-3 with two walks and has now reached base safely in 12-of-13 games since joining Gwinnett on May 29.
For Durham, Hazelbaker and Russell were each 1-for-3 with a run. Hazelbaker added an RBI.
The Stripers (29-35) and Bulls (36-28) will meet in game two of the four-game series Friday night at 7:05 at DBAP. Right-hander Matt Wisler (2-3, 4.38) will start for Gwinnett. The Bulls will pitch righty Forrest Snow (3-4, 4.06). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 and 93.5 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m.
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