Their division is weak, but the Bulls are in first place and that’s all that matters. As of Friday, Durham (52-61) led Gwinnett by 1.5 games, as it enters it’s final month of the schedule.
All four teams in the South Division are among the bottom six in the International League.
Durham’s struggles against league-worst Norfolk continued in a 3-1 series loss last week, improving the Tides’ record against the Bulls to 14-7 compared to 32-59 versus all other opponents. That series began a stretch of 35 games to conclude the regular season for Durham that included 26 against Norfolk, Gwinnett and Charlotte. Their next three home series are all against one of those three teams, as well.
A 6-0 homestand to end July boosted the Bulls into first place in the South. The team hopes to clinch its eighth division title in the last 10 years by the end of the regular season on Sept. 5. If the Bulls accomplish the feat with a sub-.500, it would be the first division title by a team with a losing record in league history.
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Motter, Shaffer make MLB appearances
A pair of regular Bulls batters, Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer, were called up to the Tampa Bay Rays last week.
Motter spent one day on the Rays’ roster but did not play. On Wednesday, Motter returned to Durham and Shaffer was recalled.
Shaffer, a 2012 first-round pick, played 31 MLB games last season but made his 2016 debut on Thursday, walking and eventually scoring in his one at-bat against Kansas City. In his first start Friday, he went 0-for-3 in the Rays 3-2 win.
Salamanders to end 2016 season Monday
The Holly Springs Salamanders ends its season Monday at home against the Martinsville Mustangs.
Having lost 12 of their last 16 games entering Friday, the 20-31 Salamanders are out of the running for the 2016 Coastal Plain League playoffs, which begin Wednesday.
At the plate, UNC-Greensboro senior Dillon Stewart has paced the team with a .331 batting average, 39 RBIs and nine home runs, with Army’s Jon Rosoff and San Diego State’s Danny Sheehan also above .300 as of Friday.
North Carolina’s J.T. Rogoszewski is the only pitcher with more than three wins — he’s 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA — while Wingate reliever Kory Behenna has the best ERA (1.80) among pitchers with double-digit innings pitched.
Mudcats pitch 15-strikeout game
Carolina Mudcats pitchers Matt Withrow, Carlos Salazar and Chad Sobotka combined to throw 15 strikeouts — compared to just 12 outs by all other methods — in the Mudcats’ 3-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash on Tuesday.
It tied the team’s season high for strikeouts.
The Mudcats, however, still rank second-worst in the Carolina League in total strikeouts pitched this season as of Friday.