By Josh Cook
It was a hot Sunday night at the ballpark, but a cold one for the Louisville Bats' bats.
A trio of Durham pitchers, led by starter Jeremy Hellickson, limited Louisville to seven hits in a 5-1 Bulls' win in front of 7,862 at Louisville Slugger Field.
Durham (41-28) got off to a hot start against Louisville starter Travis Wood on an evening where game-time temperature was 93 degrees. Bulls' leadoff hitter Justin Ruggiano doubled to start the game. He moved to third when Bats' third baseman Juan Francisco threw errantly to first after fielding Desmond Jennings' sacrifice bunt. Both Ruggiano and Jennings later scored on singles by Joe Dillon and Chris Richard respectively.
The Bats (32-38) pulled with 2-1 in the sixth inning when Chris Burke led off with a single, then scored on Zack Cozart's 17th double of the season. But that was all the offense Louisville could muster.
Durham added three runs in the eighth against Louisville reliever Enerio Del Rosario to seal the victory.
Wood (4-6) absorbed his second straight loss despite allowing only one earned run (also for the second straight game) over 6 2/3 innings. The lefty yielded eight hits, while walking two and striking out seven.
Hellickson (9-2) allowed only five hits while walking one and striking out six over seven innings to tie Charlotte's Dan Hudson for the International League lead in victories.
Burke led Louisville with two hits, while Francisco singled in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. That is the longest by a Bat so far this season.
The Bats begin a four-game series against Toledo at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Louisville lefty Matt Maloney (6-3, 3.27 earned run average) is slated to go against Mud Hens right-hander Billy Buckner (1-2, 7.04). It is also Dog Day at the Park so furry friends are encouraged to attend. Tickets are $6 for humans and $3 for dogs. All the dog tickets benefit the Kentucy Humane Society. Tickets can be purchased at the Witherspoon Gate entrance prior to the game.