by Mike Potter
The Durham Bulls started their road trip on the right foot Friday night.
Jeremy Hellickson became the International League’s first six-game winner, striking out 11 in six shutout innings as the Bulls win their third straight game with an 8-1 decision over the Columbus Clippers.
Meanwhile the Mudcats survived a big comeback from the Tennessee Smokies, scoring two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to win 10-9 and claim victory for the fourth time in their five-game series with the Southern League’s North Division leaders.
It was the eighth win in the last 10 games for Carolina, which returns home tonight to begin a five-game set with the Jacksonville Suns.
The Bulls will be at Columbus again in their second game of a nine-day, eight-game Ohio road trip.
Bulls 8, Columbus 1
Hellickson (6-1) allowed six hits with no walks in the solid quality start at Huntington Park.
And he got plenty of offensive help.
Chris Richard homered and doubled for three RBI while Ryan Shealy also homered and doubled in the Bulls’ 12-hit attack. Angel Chavez and Desmond Jennings each doubled and singled with an RBI for the Bulls.
Yohan Pino (4-2) took the loss.
Mudcats 10, Tennessee 9
Jake Kahaulelio had two doubles for four RBI as the Mudcats held on to win at Smokies Park.
Carolina led 7-2 at the stretch before the Smokies rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Dave Sappelt added four hits with an RBI in Carolina’s 16-hit attack, while Sean Danielson chipped in a pair of hits with two RBI.
Robinson Chirinos had three hits including a solo homer for Tennessee.
Jerry Gil (2-1) collected the victory while Philippe Valiquette earned his third save. Dustin Sasser (1-3) took the loss.
Jacksonville at Mudcats, 6:15 p.m.
Elih Villanueva (R, 3-1, 2.72) vs. Matt Klinker (R, 2-3, 2.18)
Bulls at Columbus, 7:05 p.m.
Heath Phillips (L, 2-3, 4.68) vs. Carlos Carrasco (R, 2-1, 3.41)