Pelicans draw big crowds for successful homestand

pel-11The Myrtle Beach Pelicans finished off their sweep of the Wilmington Blue Rocks 8-7 on Monday night with a walk-off win in the ninth inning on a bases-loaded single by catcher Jorge Alfaro.

The Pelicans have won 12 of their last 14 games including the last five straight. With another 4,269 in attendance on Monday evening, the Pelicans have averaged 3,616 over the first ten openings, the highest average through ten gates in the 16-year franchise history.

Both teams scored in bunches in the early innings. The Pelicans (12-6) plated three off of Royals prospect Miguel Almonte in the bottom of the first for an early lead. Joey Gallo collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field, and Royce Bolinger added two on a double to right field. It was 3-0 Pelicans after one inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez did not post his best outing of the year, but left in-line for the win. He hit the first two men he faced in the second before surrendering an RBI double to Jack Lopez to make it 3-1. Mark Donato cut the lead to one with a sacrifice fly. With Raul Mondesi batting, Gonzalez tossed a wild pitch, which allowed Lopez to score and tied the ballgame.

Gonzalez did not give up another run, and the Pelicans retook the lead in the next half inning. With one out in the bottom of the second, Almonte hit a batter and walked two to load the bases. Nick Williams drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left field, and Joey Gallo tripled in two more with a knock to right field to extend the lead to 6-3.

After a dropped third strike allowed Williams to reach with one out in the fourth, the Pelicans tallied another run. He got to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single from Bolinger, who drove in three in the ballgame and 11 in the homestand. Myrtle Beach had a 7-3 lead as Gonzalez completed his night.

The Birds’ right-hander went 5.2 innings, allowed three runs and surrendered five hits. He struck out two. Winless as a professional, Gonzalez stayed that way after Monday, as the club could not hold his lead.

Sam Stafford allowed two runs, one earned, in the seventh. An error by Christopher Bostick scored Hunter Dozier and allowed Johermyn Chavez into scoring position. He later scored on a double by Lopez.

A passed ball by Alfaro in the eighth led to a run and two more passed balls in the ninth allowed another to touch the plate, and Wilmington (7-11) tied the game at 7-7. Both runs were unearned.

In the bottom half of the ninth, the Pelicans collected back-to-back singles from Williams and Gallo off of lefty reliever Kyle Bartsch. The Blue Rocks brought on Mark Peterson, and after a botched tag by Lopez on a fielder’s choice by Bolinger loaded the bases, Alfaro came to the plate.

The catcher fouled off three straight 2-2 pitches and on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he lined a single over the head of the left fielder Cody Stubbs to score Williams and win the ballgame. It was the Pelicans first walk-off win of the season.

Myrtle Beach completed the homestand 5-2 and heads out on the road for the next six games with the league’s best record. The Pelicans begin a three-game set on Wednesday in Frederick against the Keys.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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