by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls will take on the Empire State Yankees for the last time this regular season, and tonight there is a rarity in the pitching matchup.
International League strikeout leader and Clayton High product Chris Archer (3-7, 5.09) will go for the Bulls against UNC alumnus Adam Warren (3-3, 4.33).
The Bulls need a win to tie the season series with the Yankees, who are playing an entire season away from their permanent home in Moosic, Pa., while the ballpark there gets an extensive renovation.
It’s a pitchers’ duel after the first inning, and the Yankees allow only five hits to win 3-1 and get the sweep.
Archer gets off to a tough start, as eight batters come to the plate in a two-run first. Leadoff man Kevin Russo’s double is the biggest hit, but after he gets the first two outs Archer walks four straight batters.
The Yankees make it 3-0 in the third when Russell Branyan lifts Archer’s first pitch into the Diamond View bleachers in right.
The Bulls finally get on the board in the eighth off reliever Chase Whitley. Shawn O’Malley leads off with a single to center, takes third on Jesus Feliciano’s single to left and scores on a balk.
Warren goes seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four against two walks.
Archer finishes with a quality outing, going six innings and allowing three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts against five walks. Bryan Augenstein follows him and strikes out the only four batters he faces.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Archer was good, but he needs to have numbers like (Warren had tonight). He battled and gave us a chance after we were down 3-0, but our team doesn’t score very much and the minute we go down three runs are a lot. He needs to turn that page. (The Yankees) have good players and great pitching, so they can win anywhere. They’re just a good team.”
Warren: “I had a pretty good crowd come up from New Bern tonight and that always feels good. They gave me an extra push. It feels good to finally get them after they beat me 1-0 last time. The key was just to focus on one pitch at a time and I was able to do that.”
Archer: “I started to rush a little bit down the hill early and everything was staying up. Since April I’ve been doing a good job of letting it be just one or two pitches or a batter at most. But tonight I kind of reverted back and didn’t make the adjustment quick enough. Neil (pitching coach Allen) said to just make good pitches, don’t rush down the hill and don’t be too fine.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls were pretty happy to see the Yankees leave town.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 4.
Empire State: Won 6.
Yankees win 5-3.
Bulls (Shane Dyer 1-1, 5.40) vs. Toledo (Jacob Turner 0-1, 4.30), Saturday, 7:05 p.m.