Pelicans close season with win, turn focus to playoffs

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class-A Advance affiliate of the Texas Rangers, ended the regular season in familiar fashion with phenomenal pitching and timely hitting, beating the Lynchburg Hillcats 5-1 Monday night  at Pelicans Ballpark in front of 3,328 fans. The Pelicans head to Winston-Salem Wednesday for game one of the divisional round of the playoffs at 7pm.

Kyle Devore and three relievers were solid as usual not allowing an earned run and striking out ten batters. Devore went five and a third innings, allowing just the one unearned run and striking out four.

Josh McElwee from nearby Andrews, SC, made his home debut in front of a large group of family and friends. He pitched an inning and a third striking out three and getting out of jams in the sixth and seventh. Jimmy Reyes and Phil Klein finished the final two innings for the birds and allowed just one hit.

The Pelicans end 2012 leading the Carolina league in pitching and with an overall record of 74-65, good enough for second best in the league.

The Pelicans lineup started fast as the first three hitters all singled. The third single, by Odubel Herrera, drove in Teodoro Martinez who was in scoring position after a Hanser Alberto single. The fourth batter Vinny DiFazio got on base as well, making it to second on a Nick Ahmed throwing error. The error allowed Alberto to score and give the birds a 2-0 lead.

Chris Grayson, who walked, would add on a third Pelican run in the fourth scoring on a wild pitch by reliever Caleb Brewer. Devore shut down the Hillcats until the sixth when back to back doubles by Ahmed and CCU Alum Tommy LaStella plated the one and only Lynchburg run.

The cats got wild in the seventh and allowed the Pelicans to score their final two runs of the 2012 regular season. Another Ahmed error, a wild pitch, and a dropped pop up by Catcher Chad Comer all contributed to the Pelican runs. On the wild pitch, Jeremy Williams would score and a heads up Yefry Castillo would go first to third. He would later score on a groundout to third by Teodoro Martinez.

The 74 wins by the Pelicans is the most since the 89 put up by the 2008 squad and sixth most overall. The 3.28 ERA is the second lowest ever, only behind the 2.51 ERA put up by the 2000 team that featured Horacio Ramirez, Matt Belisle and Tim Spooneybarger.

Myrtle Beach heads to Winston-Salem on Wednesday to start the divisional round of the Carolina League Playoffs at 7PM. Luke Jackson (5-2, 4.39) will face off against Erik Johnson (4-3, 2.74) of the Dash. Due to the Winston-Salem Dash winning both halves of the Southern Division in the Carolina League they will host all three Divisional Round games starting Wednesday. If the Pelicans advance to the Carolina League Championship Series they would host Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five Mills Cup title series, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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