Trailing 3-2 in the top of the seventh, Myrtle Beach bounced Potomac starter Adam Olbrychowski after 97 pitches when Santiago Chirino singled with two outs. Reliever Rob Wort immediately surrendered the lead to the first batter he faced, allowing a double to Josh Richmond. Chirino scored on an error by rightfielder Randolph Oduber, who dropped the ball while fielding.
Myrtle Beach struck again in the eighth when Odubel Herrera singled leading off. He made it to third on a throwing error when Wort attempted to pick him off first. Herrera scored on a controversial sacrifice fly by Jake Skole. The out was initially ruled a dropped ball, but overturned following an argument from Potomac Manager Brian Rupp. Jason Wood then countered with a vehement argument of his own, but to no avail. Either way, the Pelicans took the lead at 4-3.
The Pelicans added another run in the ninth when Brett Nicholas reached on an error. He scored on a Richmond single to make it 5-3.
A game that started 3-2 after two innings and ended with some sloppy play, actually turned into a pitcher’s duel for a while. Olbrychowski faced the minimum for four and two thirds innings from the third to seventh innings. Pelicans reliever Randol Rojas fired five no-hit innings, walking only one batter from innings four through eight. Rojas took the win, Wort the loss, and Randy Henry earned his third save.
The Pelicans and Nationals are back at it Saturday at 6:35 with Cody Buckel and Major League rehabber Chien-Ming Wang squaring off.
Wang, the 2006 American League Cy Young winner, is 59-29 with a 4.15 ERA over the course of six Major League seasons. The Taiwanese righty went 19-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 2006. His career was derailed by a shoulder injury, causing him to miss all of 2010.
Wang returned to the Majors last year with the Washington Nationals, going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts. He’s on the DL this year for a hamstring injury suffered in spring training.
Wang is the second Major Leaguer the Pelicans have faced this season, seeing two innings of Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill in Salem two weeks ago. Myrtle Beach faced Nationals ace Stephen Strausberg on rehab with Potomac last season.
Buckel will oppose Wang. The 19-year-old Buckel is burning up the Carolina League so far this season with a 2-0 record and an 0.84 ERA.
First pitch Saturday is set for 6:35 with Pelicans pregame at 6:20 on FOX Sports 101.9 FM and 1050 AM.