Balaguert’s walk-off homer lifts Pelicans past Mudcats

pel-12BalaguertYasiel Balaguert crushed a three-run home run to left field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Carolina Mudcats 6-5 in front of 4,231 on Thursday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Myrtle Beach (8-7) was down to their final strike before Ian Happ worked out a walk to bring Balaguert to the plate as the winning run. The rally started with one out when Charcer Burks doubled to center.

The Pelicans found themselves in the situation because of a late Carolina (6-9) rally. With one out and two men aboard and Myrtle Beach nursing a 3-2 lead in the seventh, Mudcats shortstop Dansby Swanson hit a liner to center. Burks laid out to try and catch the ball, but came up short, allowing the ball to roll to the wall. Swanson rounded the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run, giving the Mudcats a 5-3 lead.

The scoring began quickly in the first. Keith Curcio doubled to begin the game before Omar Obregon bunted him to third. Pelicans starter Trevor Clifton would then unleash a wild pitch to allow Curcio to score and give Carolina the 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Gleyber Torres and Happ both drew walks before Balaguert and Jason Vosler drove them in on consecutive singles. Jeffrey Baez then hit a potential double play ball in which Swanson’s throw eluded first baseman Joey Meneses, allowing Balaguert to score and make it 3-1 Pelicans.

From there, Clifton and Mudcats starter Ryan Clark would settle in. Clark allowed just those three runs over five innings while Clifton gave up only one earned run over five and a third innings.

With the score at 3-1 in the sixth, Obregon reached on an error before Swanson doubled him to third. Jordan Edgerton then flew out to center to score Obregon and end the night for Clifton.

The late-inning comeback earned the first win of the season for Jose Rosario (1-0), while Zach Quintana (0-2) took the loss.

Thursday marked the second walk-off win of the young season for the Pelicans. The first came on an Ian Happ two-run double against Winston-Salem on April 11.

Balaguert’s home run was his second in the last three days. He’s gone 6-for-12 with 7 RBI over that span. Myrtle Beach has now won five of their last six games, including the last three contests against Carolina.

Erick Leal (2-0, 2.70 ERA) will get the start on Friday on Star Wars Night for the Pelicans against Enderson Franco (0-1, 10.64 ERA) of Carolina.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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