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PAWTUCKET (79-65) at DURHAM (75-69) (Regular Season Records) Series Tied 2-2

G5 Pawtucket Red Sox RHP Keith Couch (NR)/(8-2, 2.96) vs. Durham Bulls RHP Merrill Kelly (1-0, 1.50)/(9-4, 2.76)

PawSox Playoff Baseball – The International League’s 82nd Annual Governors’ Cup Finals continue tonight when the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Durham Bulls stay in North Carolina for Game 5 at 7:05 pm at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The series is tied 2-2 after four tight and intense games. The PawSox struck first as they held on for a 3-2 victory in Game 1 Tuesday night at McCoy. The Sox appeared poised to take a 2 games to none lead on Wednesday night before Durham rallied to tie the game with a homer in the 9th and then won it in the 11th-inning, 4-3 to even this best of 5 championship series at a victory apiece. Game 3 saw the PawSox, yet again, take an early lead, only to see it dwindle after a Bulls 3-run 3rd. Game 4 saw Pawtucket down to their final strike in the 9th before Rusney Castillo singled home the tying run, Bryce Brentz threw out the potential winning run at home in the 10th, and Ivan De Jesus won it in the 13th with a 2-run homer.

Rematch – This series is a rematch of the 2013 IL Finals won by Durham, 3 games to 1. The Bulls won the Cup last September 14th at McCoy Stadium. This time the Governors’ Cup will be awarded at Durham Bulls Athletic Park this week as the league’s predetermined playoff format has the IL South/West winner hosting the final three games of the best 3 out of 5 series in even years while the IL North/wild card winner is home for the final three games of the series in odd years. Once this series is over the Cup will either remain in Durham or return to Pawtucket as the Bulls (2013) and the PawSox (2012) are the last two Governors’ Cup Champs.

Heartbreakers – Durham has dealt Pawtucket two of their toughest playoff losses in history and they have come almost exactly a year apart. Last September 13th at McCoy Stadium in Game 3 of the 2013 Governors’ Cup Finals the PawSox and Bulls staged a memorable affair that remained scoreless until the top of the 14th before Durham pushed across 2 runs to win, 2-0. The Bulls then rolled to the title with a 7-0 win the next night in Game 4. The PawSox have to hope they can avoid a similar fate a year later as Wednesday night’s 4-3 setback in 11-innings evened this series at 1-1 before both teams flew to North Carolina on Thursday morning.

Game 1 Recap – With a touch of fall in the air Tuesday night, Game 1 had a classic post-season feel. The tight contest came down to the final pitch as Durham had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the 9th but PawSox closer Heath Hembree got a strikeout and a groundout to preserve the 3-2 victory for starter Edwin Escobar. Escobar was terrific for the second time in as many post-season starts as he went 7 strong innings allowing just a 2-run single in the 3rd-inning. Pawtucket scored single runs in the 1st–inning (Travis Shaw RBI single), 2nd (Deven Marrero RBI single), and 3rd (Garin Cecchini go-ahead RBI SF) and then held on from there (Durham had 9 LOB).


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