Costly mistakes send Birds to fifth consecutive defeat

Eddy Martinez homered and reached base four times Thursday, but sloppy play cost the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in a 5-4 loss to the Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium.

The Pelicans (55-48, 12-21) led 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but Daniel Johnson began the frame by homering off reliever Jake Stinnett (0-1) to knot the score at four. Jack Sundberg and Austin Davidson each singled to put runners on the corners. Ian Sagdal followed with an RBI single to put Potomac (45-57, 12-20) on top at 5-4.

In the ninth inning, Tyler Pearson, who had a multi-hit game, singled. However, R.C. Orlan picked off pinch-runner Roberto Caro for the inning’s first out. Zack Short finished a homer shy of the cycle, and his two-out double put the tying run on second. However, Orlan induced pinch-hitter P.J. Higgins to ground out to shortstop to end the ballgame and pick up his third save.

In the first inning, Sundberg walked with one out. Two batters later, a Sagdal single and two errors on the same play allowed Sundberg to score the game’s first run. The tally broke Myrtle Beach starter Mike Rucker’s 20 consecutive scoreless innings streak.

David Masters jumpstarted the second with a double. Three batters later, Bryan Mejia singled him in to give Potomac a two-run advantage.

With the same score in the third, Robert Garcia walked with one out. Two batters later, Jesse Hodges blasted a two-run home run to knot the score at two.

The score remained that way until the fifth inning. Mejia and Johnson each notched base knocks to start the frame. After a Sundberg sacrifice bunt, the Birds intentionally walked Davidson to load the bases. With the infield in, Sagdal hit an RBI groundout to again put Potomac in front at 3-2.

Myrtle Beach was finally able to secure their first lead of the game in the sixth. Hodges walked to begin the frame before Vimael Machin singled him to second. However, Potomac starter Taylor Guilbeau picked Hodges off second base. Martinez followed with a two-run shot to put the Pelicans up 4-3.

Gilberto Mendez (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win. Myrtle Beach made four errors in their season-high fifth consecutive loss.

The Pelicans send RHP Duncan Robinson (1-2, 2.84 ERA) to the mound in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. contest at Potomac.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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