Late homer lifts Pelicans to comeback win over Keys

Hickory Crawdads -vs- Asheville TouristsThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans won the game and the series with a 4-3 win over the Frederick Keys on Thursday afternoon at Harry Grove Stadium.

Preston Beck launched a two-run homer in the eighth, as the Pelicans came-from-behind in the rubber game of the series.

The Pelicans (29-16) struck for the first runs of the game on Thursday. Both starters tossed scoreless first and second innings. Myrtle Beach got to Keys starter Mark Blackmar in the third. Zach Cone laced a single to right field to begin the frame. Luis Mendez sacrificed Cone to second, and Christopher Bostick tripled him home to drive in the game’s first run. Nick Williams followed with an infield single, and Bostick came home on the play.

With the 2-0 lead, Victor Payano rolled through scoreless frames in the third and fourth. Adrian Marin picked up a leadoff single against the southpaw in the fifth. Payano retired the next two, but couldn’t escape the inning unscathed. Glynn Davis worked a six-pitch walk before Sammie Star blasted his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field, to give the Keys a 3-2 advantage.

The score remained that way through the seventh. Blackmar finished with five innings of two-run ball, and Matt Hobgood tossed two scoreless frames in his first game back from the disabled list.

Payano worked a perfect sixth inning to finish his afternoon. The six innings matched a season-high; he allowed six hits and walked just one, allowing three runs. He struck out three. Cody Buckel tossed a scoreless seventh inning, keeping the game in check at 3-2 after seven innings.

Myrtle Beach rallied against lefty Lex Rutledge in the eighth inning. Jorge Alfaro led off with a walk. Up next, Beck smacked his fourth homer of the year. The two-run homer to right field put the Pelicans ahead 4-3 for good.

Buckel retired two more batters before giving up a two-out, eighth inning double. In his longest relief outing of the year, Buckel retired five of six batters faced, threw first pitch strikes to all six, and threw 20 of his 29 pitches for strikes.

Sam Stafford got out of the eighth inning spot after the double. He walked the leadoff man in the ninth before retiring the Keys in order for his first save.

The 4-3 final made a winner of Buckel (1-3), who earned his first win since August 29, 2012. Rutledge (2-2) suffered the defeat.

Myrtle Beach takes on the Carolina Mudcats for the first time this season on Friday, when they begin a four-game series in Zebulon. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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