Burks delivers hit in clutch to rally Pelicans past ‘Cats

mbpel-burksCharcer Burks delivered a go-ahead double in the eighth inning to earn the Myrtle Beach Pelicans their first win of the second half, defeating the Carolina Mudcats 4-3 Friday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Tied at three in the bottom of the eighth, David Bote pinch-hit with one out and came through with a single up the middle. Burks followed by crushing a double to the wall in left-center to give the Pelicans (37-35, 1-1) the 4-3 lead.

Daury Torrez, Tommy Thorpe (3-4) and Ryan McNeil combined to work three scoreless innings to allow for the Myrtle Beach comeback to occur. McNeil got the final two outs for his seventh save, while Thorpe worked 1.1 innings to earn the win.

The scoring Friday didn’t begin until the third, when the Mudcats (30-42, 1-1) got back-to-back one out doubles from Tanner Murphy and Stephen Gaylor to take a 1-0 lead.

But Myrtle Beach fought back in the bottom of the inning against Carolina starter Matt Withrow. With two outs, Rashad Crawford reached on an infield single before Gleyber Torres doubled past a diving Keith Curcio in left to tie the game at one. The next batter was Jason Vosler, who drove a double of his own to the left field corner to give the Birds a 2-1 advantage.

Pelicans starter Erick Leal held the lead over the next two innings, allowing just three knocks over his first five frames. Leal got the first two batters in the sixth, but then gave up a single to Sal Giardina before Braxton Davidson gave the Mudcats a 3-2 lead by blasting a home run to right.

In all, Leal allowed three runs over six innings while punching out six Mudcats. The Venezuela native has now turned in nine straight starts of three earned runs or less. It was also his first no-decision of the year.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Myrtle Beach drew two walks against Carolina reliever Zach Bird before he was replaced by Michael O’Neal (1-1). After O’Neal walked a batter, he issued a wild pitch, allowing Burks to score and tie the ballgame at three.

The Pelicans right fielder came through against O’Neal in the aforementioned eighth inning to help Myrtle Beach wrap up their first win of the second half.

Myrtle Beach will turn to Jeremy Null (2-3, 3.66) for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch Saturday.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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