Bell’s big drive powers Bisons win
Bubba Bell’s pinch-hit, bases-clearing double capped a four-run eighth inning rally as the Bisons won their third in a row, 7-6, over Durham Saturday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Zach Lutz hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth before Valentino Pascucci, Jesus Feliciano and Luis Figueroa (another pinch hittter) loaded with bases with singles against reliever Adam Russell. Bell then stepped to the plate in plate against Rob Delaney and launched a ball to left-center field.
“I’ve had a lot of AB’s against Delaney before and I knew that I wanted to jump on something early,” Bell said. “He left a good pitch out there that I could jump on and you don’t want to face him late because he’s got some good secondary stuff.”
Manager Tim Teufel complemented Bell and Figueroa’s abilities to come off the bench in key situations.
“The toughest thing to do in baseball is to pinch hit,” Teufel said. “You’re cold, you’re off the bench, you try to get loose.”
Friday, the Herd rallied to tie Syracuse in the eighth and win in the ninth. Saturday, they came back for a win with three runs in the seventh.
“We feel great,” Bell said. “Any time you can get a win it feels great, but I think that we’ve been playing a lot better than what our record’s shown lately. We’ve just had a couple bumps in the road late in games and right now we’re able to lock them down.”
John Lujan struck out John Matulia, and forced ground-outs by Ray Olmedo and Tim Beckham for his second save.
Durham took an early lead with three runs on four first-inning hits, including Leslie Anderson’s two-run double.
After three shutout innings from starter Alez Torres, Pascucci evened the score with one swing, launching a homer to left field with Josh Satin and Zach Lutz on base.
“Pascucci got us back in the game,” Teufel said. “And then we scrapped from there.”
Pascucci, who went 3-for-3, increased his team-leading total to 18 homers and tied Scranton’s Jorge Vazquez for the International League lead with 82 RBIs.
The Bulls took back the lead in the fifth on Stephen Vogt’s triple.
Starter Chris Schwinden took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on seven hits over five innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
“He got off to a little shaky start, but then he started feeling it again,” Teufel said. “He started making quality pitches and got some ground ball outs and he took us as far as we wanted him to go tonight.”
Up with Satin and Lutz on again, Pascucci walked to load the bases with no outs in the sixth, but Torres retired the next three batters, including two strikeouts to hold the lead.
In his first game off of the disabled list, Durham’s Brandon Guyer doubled twice, went 3-for-4 and scored after each hit, including in the eighth, when Vogt picked up his second RBI on a double.
Reliever Justin Hampson, who pitched a one-run eighth, earned the win.
Game Notes: The streak give the Bisons three consecutive one-run wins for the first time since July 16-18, 2010, all against Gwinnett… Of Durham’s 10 hits, seven went for extra bases… Buffalo’s Mystery Ball promotion of 500 autographed baseballs from famous athletes and celebrities benefitting Hunter’s Hope sold out in 53 minutes.