Dash rally past Pelicans to force deciding playoff game

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans couldn’t close the deal on a two-game sweep, giving up leads in the sixth and seventh to the Winston-Salem Dash to tie the Southern Division playoffs series 1-1.

Vinny DiFazio homered in the top of the seventh but a Courtney Hawkins homerun and Michael Earley two run double in the bottom of the inning put the Dash up 5-3 which would be the final score. The Pelicans threatened with two runners on in the ninth but Dash closer Taylor Thompson was able to strike out Jeremy Williams.

Game 3 is Friday at 7 p.m. in Winston-Salem. Nick McBride will face Chris Bassitt of the Dash.

Winston-Salem jumped on top early when Marcus Semien took a Joe Van Meter fastball over the leftfield wall. The Pelicans took their first lead in the third scoring two runs on only one hit. Dash starter Scott Snodgress walked Edwin Garcia and Jeremy Williams to start the inning. Chris Grayson came up and sacrifice bunted to third, third baseman Chris Curley fielder the ball and threw it over Dan Black’s head allowing Garcia to score and put Grayson and Williams at second and third. Snodgress was then able to get Teodoro Martinez Odubel Herrera out on a strikeout and a lineout. Then with Hanser Alberto up Snodgress spiked a breaking ball that catcher Kevan Smith couldn’t block allowing Williams to score.

Joe van Meter was dominant until the bottom of the sixth when the pesky Dan Wagner came up with an infield single and stolen base getting him to third. Cyle Hankerd drove in Wagner with a single to center tying the game at 2. After another Earley single Van Meter was lifted for Zach Osborne who got Smith to ground out.

The birds got the lead back in the top of the seventh when the veteran Vinny DiFazio smoked a Snodgress fastball for a solo homerun, setting the dugout into a frenzy and giving the Pelicans a 3-2 lead. Snodgress was then lifted for Kevin Vance who was able to keep it at 3-2.

The usually shutdown Osborne came back out in the seventh to face the Dash and immediately phenom prospect hit his second homerun in as many days to tie it again at 3. After that singles by Curley and Wagner set the Dash up at first and third with one out and Marcus Semien up. Semien ripped an inside fastball down the line past Garcia at third to score both runners and give the Dash a 5-3 lead.

Myrtle Beach threatened in the eighth and ninth but could not get any runs across. Teodoro Martinez doubled in the eighth but was stranded. The Pelicans got Brett Nicholas on third with a single, balk and ground out and then got the tying run Edwin Garcia on first after a walk but Jeremy Williams struck out to end the game.

Taylor Thompson pitched the last one and two thirds for the save and Kevin Vance got the win after replacing Snodgress. Joe Van Meter was fantastic as usual pitching five and two thirds innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven. Osborne was touched up for the three big Dash runs in the seventh. Daniel Lopez finished the game for the Pelicans, throwing one and a third scoreless. Snodgress went six and two-thirds allowing three runs, one earned while striking out three.

The deciding Game 3 of the Carolina League Southern Division series is set for Friday at 7PM in Winston-Salem. Nick McBride (2-3, 3.76) will face off against Chris Bassitt (5-4, 3.66). If the Pelicans win and advance they would host games one and two at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Saturday (7:05) and Sunday (TBA). Saturday will feature $1 select domestic draught beers. For tickets or for more information please visit myrtlebeachpelicans.com or call 843-918-6000.

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