Behind a dominant performance by starting pitcher Chih-Wei Hu, the Durham Bulls shut out the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 3-0 Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Governors’ Cup Finals., according to a team news release.
The victory leaves Durham just one win away from back-to-back International League titles over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as well as from a second consecutive birth in the Triple-A National Championship Game.
The Bulls also defeated the RailRiders in last year’s cup final, before topping the Memphis Redbirds to become national champions.
Due to concerns about Hurricane Florence, the game was played at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania — the Railriders’ home park. The series was previously scheduled to shift to Durham following game two.
Home-field advantage made no difference for Hu, though, who fooled RailRiders’ hitters all night long.
Hu pitched seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and striking out six.
The Bulls’ offense provided its run support early.
Centerfielder Austin Meadows opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the first inning, bringing home leadoff man Kean Wong.
The Bulls’ other two runs came courtesy of a second inning rally, which included a solo home run from third baseman Brandon Snyder and a run-scoring double from shortstop Jake Cronenworth.
Though none of Durham’s players recorded multiple hits, seven different Bulls had one hit. Even the two who went hitless managed to reach base Thursday night, as both Meadows and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe got on via bases on balls.
Durham will look to close the series out Friday in another game at PNC Field, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. The team has not yet announced its starter, but right-hander Ryan Bollinger is scheduled to take the mound for Scranton/WB.