Bulls

On The Farm: Ciolli Drives In Seven For Kannapolis; Young Tosses Gem at Bristol

On The Farm: Ciolli Drives In Seven For Kannapolis; Young Tosses Gem at Bristol

Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010
Posted: 10:20 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX Kannapolis A
Nick Ciolli drove in a career best seven RBIs on Wednesday evening as the Intimidators drubbed Lexington, 13-1, at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.

Ciolli had three of Kannapolis 15 hits, including a fourth-inning grand slam that broke open what was still a relatively close game. He already had an RBI single in the third inning before coming to the plate in the fourth and later added a two-run single in the seventh.

I was just trying to keep fueling the fire, said Ciolli, who had a five-RBI game on July 27 against Asheville. We had a lot of rhythm going tonight and I was just trying to get everyone going, get some momentum going. I was just trying to get a couple of extra RBIs here and there.

I was just trying to go up there and get the next guy up in the fourth. I had been watching him and he came in with a fastball and followed up with a curve and I guessed curve and picked it up knee high and got it out of the park.

Daniel Wagner also had three hits and drove in a pair while John Spatola added a homer and two RBIs.

It made for an easy night for Cameron Bayne 12-9, who won his sixth consecutive start. Bayne allowed a run in 6 23 innings.

Bristol Rookie
Robert Young is beginning to pitch more like a top-10 selection in the draft that someone who was chosen in the 31st round. Yet, thats where the White Sox took him in June. But over the last two weeks Young has made the Chicago front office look very smart.

He was brilliant again on Wednesday night as Bristol defeated visiting Bluefield, 5-1. Young 3-3 earned his third consecutive victory, allowing an unearned run in six innings while scattering only four hits. The former Dartmouth star struck out a career high eight and has a 0.36 ERA in his last four starts 24 23 innings.

Qualon Millender had two hits and two RBIs.

Winston-Salem A
Lynchburg and the Dash traded shutouts Wednesday evening as the two teams split a doubleheader at Lynchburg City Stadium.

Winston-Salem took the opener, 5-0, as Dylan Axelrod went the distance, scattering seven hits and striking out eight. Axelrod 7-2 has a 0.75 ERA in his last five starts, a stretch of 36 innings.

The Dash hit four homers with Ken Williams, Seth Loman, Jason Bour and Kyle Shelton going deep.

The Hillcats returned the favor in the nightcap, scoring in the sixth inning to pick up a 1-0 victory. Brandon Kloess 1-2 took the loss.
Peoria A
The Chiefs split a doubleheader with Cedar Rapids, dropping the opener, 6-3, before rallying to win the nightcap, 10-5, at OBrien Field.

Peoria scored nine first-inning runs in the second game mostly as a result of three errors committed by the Kernels. Hak-Ju Lee had a pair of hits in the inning, including a two-run single, while Justin Bour had a two-run double. Jose Guevara also had a two-run double.

Luis Liria picked up the win despite allowing four runs in three innings. Bour had two hits and two RBIs in the opener. Ryan Searle took the loss after surrendering six runs on 11 hits in 4 23 innings.

In other action, Birmingham dropped an 8-5 decision at Carolina. Dale Mollenhauer had a homer and three RBIs. RHP Jeff Sues was promoted to Birmingham from Winston-Salem prior to the game. Gwinnett downed visiting Charlotte, 9-6. Kyle McCulloch started and allowed seven runs in five innings, giving up a pair of homers in the process. Brent Morel went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Pitchers Lucas Harrell Erick Threets were recalled by Chicago prior to the game.
CUBSDaytona A
Evan Crawfords sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth lifted Daytona by Clearwater, 2-1, on Wednesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Cubs, who have won three in a row, picked up a half game on first-place Tampa, which split two games with Brevard County.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the ninth before Crawford lofted a fly ball to right field off Jon Velasquez. Crawford scored on a wild pitch in the third inning after the Threshers had taken a 1-0 lead in the first.

Robert Whitenack started and went the first five innings. Chris Siegfried then pitched three one-hit innings before Jeff Beliveau worked a scoreless ninth for the win.
In other action, West Tenn scored a ninth-inning run and bested Tennessee, 5-4. Kyle Smit, whom the Cubs acquired from the Dodgers in July, suffered his first loss with the Smokies. LHP Jeremy Papelbon came off the disabled list prior to the game and started, allowing a run in three innings. Brett Jackson had a solo homer for the Smokies. LHP Luke Sommer 2-2, 2.23 was promoted to Iowa.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: The basketball world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: The basketball world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine and David Watson reflect on the passing of an NBA icon, Kobe Bryant.

0:30 - Reaction to Kobe's passing on Sunday

18:00 - More discussion about Kobe Bryant and his impact on the league

25:00 - The guys favorite memories of Kobe Bryant

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

What's next for Denzel Valentine after standout performance against Spurs?

What's next for Denzel Valentine after standout performance against Spurs?

Denzel Valentine is beloved throughout the Bulls’ locker room. It takes only a brief sweep around to glean that.

“I love playing with Denzel, that's my guy,” Kris Dunn said. “No matter what, that's my guy. He know[s] that.”

No matter what.

“Man, Denzel is a true professional,” Zach LaVine said. “We're thankful to have him on this team, I think any team would love to have him. He's someone that is beneficial to us because he's gotten put in a tough situation where he came off the bench, and he's a player that's a regular rotation guy.”

Any team would love to have him.

“They show a lot of support, man, it's just crazy. We have a really good, close-knit team,” Valentine said of his teammates. “Zach — he's been a really good help in this situation. Talking to me every day. Coby [White], Kris, I can go down the line of everybody that's a part of it, so. I got blessed, man, I'm on a really good team with really good teammates.”

Let’s rewind. Valentine logged his fourth-highest minutes total of the season (19:06) on Monday, tied his season-high for scoring (16 points) and played crucial, crunch-time minutes in one of these Bulls’ most memorable victories — a 110-109 squeak-by over the San Antonio Spurs on a night the late Kobe Bryant was commemorated from start to finish. 

Valentine added three assists, four rebounds and four 3-pointers, as well.

“I thought Denzel was terrific. He's kept himself ready and came in and helped us win a game,” coach Jim Boylen said.

It can’t have been easy keeping the rust off. After missing all of last season due to ankle reconstruction surgery, Valentine is averaging by far his lowest minutes per game this season while shooting 39.5% from 3-point range. He has been phased in and out of the rotation on multiple occasions.

“That's my job as a professional, to stay ready and play when called upon,” Valentine said of how he endures with playing time not a given.

In four games which Valentine has played more than 19 minutes this season, he averages 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on 50/44/100 shooting splits. The Bulls are 3-1 in said contests.

“Playing winning basketball,” Valentine said on what he brings when given opportunity. “Whether that's scoring, passing, playing defense, rebounding. Just whatever I can do to affect the game. People always want to look at my shots, but I think I impact the game in a lot of different ways. I think my defense is underrated, and I impact the game in a lot of different ways.”

Valentine said he’s excited to continue to prove himself with advanced opportunity likely in the near future. Thad Young’s insertion into the starting lineup with Lauri Markkanen out for at least the next month opens a gaping need for scoring off the bench. Since Markkanen went down, Valentine is averaging 13.8 minutes per game. Before then, he hadn’t played more than seven since logging 16 minutes in a blowout loss to Milwaukee on Dec. 30. 

But tonight, he was instrumental to a victory. Of his four 3-pointers, two came in the fourth quarter as the Bulls were clawing their way back from, at one point, a 10-point deficit. 

“He brings that. Scoring, another playmaker. You know, when Denzel get rolling, you get to see a different player in him,” Dunn said. “He has that same mentality that I have in the sense of — you know, just go out there and do whatever you can do to win.”

Valentine is beloved throughout the locker room.

“That's not up to him, to play his minutes. He came in, and he's the biggest reason why we won the game I think,” LaVine said. “I think he was 6-for-10, he had 16 points in [19] minutes. You know, high-IQ player, playing on and off the ball, so it was big and I appreciate having him as my teammate.

“Denzel has some of the highest respect in the locker room, we know who he is as a player, and as a person.”

But are his teammates hinting at something? Trade speculation has swirled around Valentine with the deadline impending and the Bulls’ role for him undefined. Now, though, the team’s need for him is evident, given their short-handedness. 

The waters are muddy, but all there is to know for sure is this: All parties have remained and will remain professional.

Time will tell the rest.

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