Herrera homers in ninth as Pelicans rally past Mudcats

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers, came from behind in the ninth inning Thursday, beating the Carolina Mudcats 7-6 at Five County Stadium on a home run by Odubel Herrera.

The Pelicans jumped out front early, scoring in each of the first four innings.  The surge was headlined by a third inning homerun by Jake Skole, his first of the season.  The early offensive efficiency spelled a short night for Carolina starter Michael Goodnight, who was chased after just four innings.

Carolina was resilient, however, getting to Pelicans pitcher Nick Tepesch in the third and fourth innings for three runs.  The fourth was the big inning, costing Tepesch 25 pitches while facing seven batters, allowing two to score on three straight hits.  The knocks came from Jake Lowery, Carlos Moncrief and Ronny Rodriguez.  The lead was cut to 5-3.

The Mudcats bullpen did its job from that point.  JD Reichenbach and Jordan Cooper combined to sit down 12 Pelicans in order from the fifth through eighth inning, setting the table for a comeback.  That comeback came in the bottom of the eighth, when the Mudcats sent eight hitters to the dish, scoring three to go in front 6-5.

The lead was the first of the night for Carolina.  With one out in the frame, first baseman Jesus Aguilar took a Jimmy Reyes walk to start the rally.  Jeremie Tice then singled along with Lowery.  Moncrief reached on an error to score one run and push Reyes to the bench.  Randy Henry came from the bullpen and with a single to Rodriguez and a wild pitch, allowed two more runs and surrendered the lead.

Myrtle Beach would not settle for defeat, however.  The Pelicans equalized the game almost immediately in the top of the ninth against Cooper.  Josh Richmond singled on the inning’s first pitch, was sacrificed to second by Edwin Garcia and then got to third and scored on two errant pitches.  Then, with the game knotted at six, Odubel Herrera scrapped his fourth career home run over the rightfield fence for a 7-6 advantage.

Henry would slam the door in the bottom of the ninth and get the Pelicans their first late-inning comeback with this season.  The win was Henry’s first.  The loss is the first charged to Cooper.  There was no save.  With the win, the Pelicans are now 5-3 in first ever meetings with Carolina League clubs.

The Pelicans and Mudcats meet again Friday night at 7:15 in Zebulon, NC.  Kyle Hendricks throws against TJ House.  Radio coverage begins at 7.

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