It all came together for the Louisville Bats Sunday afternoon. Jeff Francis tossed a complete game shutout, Joey Gathright’s three hits and three RBIs led the offense, and the Bats continued to play stellar defense. It all added up to a 7-0 victory over the Durham Bulls, which ended a four game losing streak.
“It starts with what Jeff Francis did today,” Bats manager David Bell said. “We had some timely hitting and our defense was a big part.”
Francis scattered seven Bulls hits while walking one and striking out four. The defense helped Francis in a big way. Felix Perez and Joey Gathright both made diving catches in the fourth inning and the infield turned two double plays to help their pitcher out.
“So many innings got turned around with big plays,” Francis said. “Winning baseball games takes a lot of different things. We put it all together today; that’s what we’ve been looking for.”
The Bats struck first in the second inning when Bill Rhinehart doubled home Danny Dorn, who started the inning with a double of his own. With Rhinehart at second and nobody out, the Bats failed to push him across and it looked like the offense would ultimately fail again.
The Bats came to life and blew the game open with a four spot in the fourth inning. With his team already leading 1-0, Cody Puckett singled home Dorn to make it 2-0. Three batters later, Brian Peacock slapped a two-run double down the right field line. Peacock scored on a single by Gathright to make it 5-0 in favor of the Bats.
Two innings later, Gathright doubled to right scoring Puckett and Miguel Rojas, extending the Bats lead to 7-0. Gathright, who also had a single in the third, recorded his second three hit game since joining the Bats May 24. He has hit safely in all nine games he has played in for the Bats—that’s the longest hitting streak for any Bats player this season.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Bell said of Gathright. “He provides energy at the top of the order. He’s really come up with some big hits.”
Dorn’s double gave him a base hit for the 12th time in his last 14 games. In that time, Dorn is hitting .346 and has raised his average from .174 to .225.
The Bats and Bulls wrap up their season series Monday night. Louisville will send Chad Reineke (1-3, 4.45 ERA) to the mound. Durham will counter with Shane Dyer (0-1, 6.30 ERA). It’s Dog Day at the Park at Louisville Slugger Field and first pitch is set for 7:05.
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