(bisons.com)-Good teams find a way to win, even if it isn't pretty.
The Bisons defeated Durham 1-0 Sunday in 14 innings by way of a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Ricardo Nanita.
The four-hour marathon was the longest scoreless game in Coca-Cola Field history.
Catcher Mike Nickeas hit a double to center field to leadoff the 14th inning. Nanita pinch-hit for Jose Reyes, who went 2-for-5 as the designated hitter after playing shortstop in the first two games of the series.
"We haven't given up," Bisons manager Marty Brown said after the game. "We always feel like we're in the ballgame somebody is going to rise to the occasion. Today was no different."
Nickeas did not enter the game until the 11th inning, while going 1-for-2 and scoring the game-winning run on the error by the Bulls first baseman on Nanita's bunt.
"It was a tough at-bat," Nickeas said. "The guy was throwing well and throwing hard so I was just really hoping to get on base for us. The double was a bonus. I haven't been swinging it terrifically, so it was really nice to help the team."
The Bisons had limited opportunities to score through the first eight innings, but threatened in the bottom of the ninth with Reyes was at the plate and Eugenio Velez came in to pinch-run for Sean Ochinko at first.
Reyes popped out to third base and outfielder Kevin Pillar grounded into a fielder's choice at second to send the game to extra innings.
In the 10th inning, shortstop Ryan Goins hit a hard ground ball to second base that was bobbled by Ryan Roberts but the second baseman grabbed the ball and threw out Luis Jimenez at home plate to end the inning still tied at zero.
Reyes led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a single to right field, while Pillar hit a hard grounder to third that was bobbled by Mike Fontenot to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Third baseman Mauro Gomez, who won the game for Buffalo last night, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Luis Jimenez was intentionally walked by the Bulls. Moises Sierra swung at the first pitch of his at-bat for the final out of the 12th inning.
"We didn't get the big hits when we needed them," Brown said. "Sierra came up in a big spot there with two outs and Reyes at third, tried to do too much. Those are the things young players have to learn. You don't do too much in those situations, you just try to put a good swing on a pitch and stay to the middle of the field."
Both teams showed up their defensive skills to help their strong pitching performances.
Gomez robbed Tim Beckham with a nice pick at third base on a one-hopper. Gomez was robbed by Mike Fontenot at third in the fourth inning as well.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jimenez was called out on a diving play by Vince Belnome who flipped the ball to Bulls starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
Gomez also made a bare-handed throw to first in the sixth, getting Bourgeois who bunted to advance Cole Figueroa to third.
Herd second baseman Mike McCoy started a nice double play for the Herd in the fifth inning after making a jumping catch while running into shallow right field. He then threw to second base and picked off Fontenot for the double play to end the inning.
"These guys they just have to keep battling," Brown said. "I think there's tough times like that you go through during the season. There's going to be a time we're clicking again and everybody is going to be feeling good about themselves...guys are battling, that's the thing," he said.
"When you go through those tough times it's about just you battling the pitcher... there were a lot more positives than negatives."
The Bisons bullpen pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, while allowing no walks and striking out nine Durham batters.
Relievers Buddy Carlyle and Mickey Storey each had three strikeouts in a combined 4.1 innings of work. Right-hander Dave Bush threw 1.2 innings and had one strikeout. Joel Correno picked up the win for the Bisons and struck out one in one inning pitched.
"I can't say enough about our bullpen," Brown said. "(Todd Redmond) did a great job...it was an all in all team effort. We didn't swing the bats when we needed to, but you have to credit their pitcher too. He threw the ball really well."
Herd starter Todd Redmond made his fourth start of the year for the Herd.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander threw six solid innings, giving up just three hits and striking out three while walking just one batter. It was the seventh consecutive quality start from Bisons starting pitchers.
"It's great for our pitching staff to come out there," Nickeas said. "They've been doing a fantastic job lately. So to come in and throw zeroes up it was really awesome. Then, Nanita doing his job getting the bunt down and the guy messed up the play, we were able to get out of it."
Goins had a chance to put the Bisons on the scoreboard ealier in the game when got 90 feet from home plate on one swing with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. The 25-year-old hit a line drive to center field that was misplayed by Jason Bourgeois and rolled all the way to the wall, but Mike McCoy grounded out to short to end the Herd's threat as it was still 0-0 after five.
Reyes broke up Odorizzi's no-hitter in the fourth inning with a single off of Bulls third baseman Mike Fontenot's glove.
"We never really let anything get us rattled which is nice to see," Brown said.
Reyes will finish off the series with the Bisons against Durham tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 at Coca Cola Field.