PNC Field will host the entire Governors’ Cup Finals slate, which begins Tuesday night.
With Hurricane Florence set to hit the Carolinas late Thursday or early Friday, the International League announced on Tuesday that the Durham Bulls will forgo hosting Game 3 — and Games 4 and 5, if necessary — at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Instead, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and PNC Field will host all five games, not just Games 1 and 2.
Games 1-4 will have a 6:35 p.m. start time, while Game 5 — if the best-of-five series makes it that far — is scheduled for a 4:05 p.m. first pitch.
“In consultation with the participating organizations, the decision has been made that it is in the best interest of all involved that the entire Governors’ Cup Finals now be scheduled for PNC Field,” International League president Randy Mobley said in a press release. “The developing weather conditions in the Durham area have forced this decision. We hope to have a fun and competitive series while also keeping those impacted by Hurricane Florence in our thoughts.”
With Games 1 and 2 taking place Tuesday and Wednesday in Moosic, and the remaining possible games heading to Durham for Thursday, the series was set to clash with the incoming storm.
By the time the hurricane reaches the coast late Thursday or early Friday, it could be as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the National Hurricane Service. More than 1.5 million people have already been ordered to evacuate the expected impacted areas, according to the Washington Post.
“I think it’s the safest thing to do. I think that’s the smartest thing to do,” Mitchell said of shifting the series to Moosic.
Despite hosting the entire series, the RailRiders will only be the “home team” for Games 1 and 2, while Durham will be home the rest of the series.
This is the first time since 2004, when the Richmond Braves and Buffalo Bisons met in the championship series, that weather has forced the entire Governors’ Cup Finals to be hosted by one team. The 2004 series was shifted to Buffalo due to Hurricane Ivan.
The RailRiders enter Tuesday’s game off a four-game series win over the rival Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Durham, like Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, beat its first-round opponent, the Toledo Mud Hens, in four games.
The Governors’ Cup champion will face the winner of the Pacific Coast League, the Memphis Redbirds or the Fresno Grizzlies, on Sept. 18 in Columbus, Ohio, in the Triple-A National Championship Game.
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