by Mike Potter
Joe Dillon (pictured) led the Durham Bulls at the plate for the second straight night, leading his club to a 4-2 road win over the Gwinnett Braves in the opener of their three-game series.
The Bulls will play the second game of the Gwinnett set tonight, while the Mudcats will get the day off after a long bus trip.
Carolina will play its home opener at Five County Stadium on Wednesday night at 7:15 against the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Durham will host its home opener against the Norfolk Tides on Thursday night at 7:05, with the Duke men’s basketball team receiving a salute as part of the city’s “Night of National Champions.”
Bulls 4, Gwinnett 2
Dillon’s two-out, two-run double provided the winning and insurance runs in a four-run seventh inning as the Bulls came back to get a leg up on Gwinnett.
Dillon had two hits while Angel Chavez added a trio of singles in Durham’s nine-hit attack. Fernando Perez had the other RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Brian Baker (1-0) was the winning pitcher in relief, while Joaquin Benoit picked up his first save.
Scott Proctor (0-1) took the loss.
Barbaro Canizares doubled and singled with an RBI for the Braves.
Birmingham 7, Mudcats 3
Duke alum Jim Gallagher had three hits with an RBI and scored twice as the Barons avoided the embarrassment of losing the whole five-game home series.
Salvador Sanchez added an RBI triple for the winners, while John Shelby chipped in a double with two RBI.
Santo Luis (1-0) was the winning pitcher in relief, while Joseph Krebs (0-1) suffered the loss.
Denis Phipps had a two-run double and Eric Eymann an RBI single for Carolina.
Bulls at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Jeremy Hellickson (R, 1-0, 1.80) vs. James Parr (R, 0-0, 9.00)