Pelicans’ Burks delivers in clutch to propel Pelicans

pel-burksCharcer Burks delivered a two-out go-ahead two-run single in the seventh and the Myrtle Beach bullpen fired four shutout innings Wednesday as the Pelicans edged the Frederick Keys 5-4 to win their fourth in a row in front of 5,566 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

With the Pelicans (47-43, 11-9) trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Yasiel Balaguert, who had three hits, led off with a single against Frederick (46-43, 10-9) reliever Austin Urban (1-1) before Jeffrey Baez walked. Andrew Ely followed by executing a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. After a groundout, Burks came through by pulling a single into left to plate both Pelicans runners, giving the Birds a 5-4 lead.

James Pugliese (2-3) and McNeil combined to work four scoreless innings to hold the lead for Myrtle Beach. McNeil picked up his league-leading 13th save, while Pugliese earned the win, twirling three shutout innings, fanning five while allowing just two hits.

After Pelicans starter Jeremy Null worked a scoreless top of the first, Burks struck first for Myrtle Beach, delivering a solo homer to left to give Myrtle Beach a 1-0 lead.

Down by one in the top of the second, Frederick bounced right back. The first two hitters of the inning, Cam Kneeland and Jomar Reyes both homered to left-center to give Frederick a 2-1 advantage. Steve Wilkerson and Jay Gonzalez each followed with bunt singles to set the table for Anthony Caronia’s base hit up the middle, which loaded the bases. Erick Salcedo then bounced into a double play, allowing Wilkerson to score and give the Keys a 3-1 lead. D.J. Stewart followed and cracked a run-scoring double to right-center, giving Frederick a 4-1 lead.

Null and Keys starter Lucas Long traded zeroes for the next three innings, both completing five innings of work on the night. Long tied a career-high with nine strikeouts on the night.

The Pelicans and Keys will meet again Thursday for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

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