First-half champ Pelicans ride hot streak into break

pel-hodgehomerBoth Jesse Hodges and Eloy Jimenez homered Sunday as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans rolled by the Down East Wood Ducks 8-3 at Grainger Stadium.

With the game scoreless in the second, Hodges hit a solo blast to center off Wood Ducks (34-45) starter Jacob Shortslef (0-1) to put Myrtle Beach (43-27) on the board.

Tyler Alamo, who had two hits, and Robert Garcia each singled to begin the third. Two batters later, Trent Giambrone lifted a sacrifice fly to left to bring in Alamo. Daniel Spingola busted out of an 0-for-19 skid with an RBI single to center to plate Garcia. Jimenez then blasted a two-run missile to left-center to make it 5-0.

Down East got back in the game in the bottom of the third. Arturo Lara homered to start the inning and then LeDarious Clark singled, stole second and reached third on an error. A Matt Lipka sacrifice fly brought the Wood Ducks to within 5-2.

The score would remain that way until the fifth. Bryant Flete singled with one out and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. A Giambrone single coupled with a Wood Ducks error plated Flete to pad the advantage at 6-2.

Alamo doubled to begin the seventh inning and came into score on a Flete RBI single two batters later, increasing the Birds’ advantage to 7-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, Preston Scott reached first after being hit with a pitch. He moved to second on a ground out and raced around to score on a Lara RBI single to pull Down East to within 7-3.

The Wood Ducks retired the first two batters of the eighth inning before Hodges laced a double. Eddy Martinez then banged an RBI single to center to widen the margin to 8-3.

Dakota Mekkes (1-0) earned the win for Myrtle Beach with two hitless innings out of the bullpen. Pelicans relievers ceded just one run on two hits in six innings, and they’ve yielded just two earned runs in their last 13 games spanning 45.2 frames for a 0.39 ERA.

Myrtle Beach finished the first half of the season at 43-27, the Carolina League’s best record and tied for the seventh-most wins in any half in Pelicans history. The Birds closed the half by winning 20 of their last 25 games, including 15 of 17 in June.

Flete, Spingola, Jimenez, Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele and Pedro Araujo will represent Myrtle Beach in Tuesday’s All-Star Classic at Haley Toyota Field in Salem. A live stream of the 7:05 p.m. game can be found on MiLB.tv.

The second half of the season begins with an eight-game homestand on Thursday, June 22.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans 

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