First-place Pelicans come back late to slip past Keys

pel-boteslideThe first-place Pelicans executed a late comeback before Tommy Nance nailed down his first career save in Myrtle Beach’s 5-4 series-opening victory over the Frederick Keys on Monday at Harry Grove Stadium.

The Keys (53-53, 17-19) led 3-2 in the seventh when Charcer Burks doubled with one out against reliever Tanner Chleborad (3-3). Donnie Dewees then laced a double to right-center, going to third on an error while knocking in Burks to knot the score at three. Frederick then brought the infield in, but David Bote legged out an RBI single to give Myrtle Beach (57-51, 21-17) the 4-3 lead.

With the same score in the ninth, Andrew Ely singled to begin the frame. Two wild pitches brought him to third base, and two batters later, Dewees lifted a sacrifice fly to add an important insurance run.

Josh Hart led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple against Nance, who retired the next two batters. A bloop single by Erick Salcedo made it 5-4 and put the tying run on base, but the right-hander retired Steve Wilkerson on a ground out to seal the win and earn his first professional save.

The Pelicans jumped out to a strong start when Dewees singled with one out in Myrtle Beach’s first at-bats. After an error allowed Bote to reach, a wild pitch advanced both runners before Yasiel Balaguert hit a sacrifice fly to have the Birds strike first. The next batter was Jeffrey Baez, who doubled in Bote to make it 2-0 Pelicans.

Frederick responded with Salcedo launching a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first against Myrtle Beach starter James Pugliese (4-4).

With the score still 2-1 Birds, Salcedo began the third with a base hit, moving to third on Wilkerson’s double. The Keys tied and then took the lead at 3-2 on RBI singles by Cam Kneeland and Aderlin Rodriguez.

Pugliese settled down from that point, allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings to earn the win. He whiffed six and walked just one.

Myrtle Beach sends RHP Jake Stinnett (7-4, 4.53 ERA) to the mound for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. first pitch at Frederick.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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