Pelicans drop lead in game, second-half CL standings

pel-bellThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans lost to the Salem Red Sox 5-3 on Saturday night at Pelicans Ballpark. dropping the Pelicans from their perch atop the Carolina League Southern Division. Myrtle Beach, which clinched the first half title and a playoff bid, is now one game behind the Winston-Salem Dash in the second half.

The Pelicans (22-21, 66-45) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Jorge Alfaro hit a solo shot into the Budweiser Thirst Inning deck off of the first pitch he saw from Red Sox starter Pat Light to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. The catcher’s home run was his thirteenth of the season. After Preston Beck popped out, Royce Bolinger hit a double to left field and he scored on Nick Williams’ subsequent double.

The Red Sox (19-22, 52-57) cut the Pelicans’ lead to 2-1 in the top of the second. On a 3-2 count with one out, Carson Blair hit a solo home run to left field off of Pelicans starter Chad Bell.

Bell pitched five innings, allowing one run while scattering four hits, striking ofour and walking none. Justin Sprenger entered the game in the sixth inning, and worked around a throwing error by Christopher Bostick to keep the score 2-1.

Myrtle Beach scored its third run of the game in the bottom half of the inning. Williams struck out swinging to lead off the inning but advanced to second base when Carson Blair lost track of the wild pitch on the dropped third strike. Williams advanced to third base on Lewis Brinson’s fly out and scored on a fielding error by Red Sox shortstop Jose Vinicio. The Pelicans loaded the bases in the inning, but Red Sox reliever Matty Ott came on and induced a ground out to escape the jam.

The Red Sox scored three runs, two of them unearned, to take the lead in the top of the seventh. Reed Gragnani walked to lead off and later advanced to second base when Alfaro’s pickoff attempt went into right field. In the same at-bat, Blair hit a ground ball to Luis Mendez, but Mendez threw wide of first base to allow Gragnani to score and Blair to advance to second base. Alfaro threw out Blair at third on a fielder’s choice, and Aneury Tavarez reached first on the play. In the next at-bat, Matt Gedman doubled to left field to put runners at second and third with one out. Tavarez scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Vinicio to tie the game at three, and Gedman advanced to third. Matty Johnson then drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single to right field to give the Red Sox the lead for good.

Salem added their fifth run when Carlos Asuaje hit an RBI double to center field in the ninth, but he was thrown out trying to advance to third on a relay throw by Mendez to end the inning.

Ott (2-1) worked around a leadoff single by Mendez to close the game and earn the win. Ott retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced, including the first seven. Sprenger (0-3) allowed only one earned run but took the loss.

The season series finale between the Pelicans and Red Sox is Sunday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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