Pelicans drop opener in 12, play final home game today

pel-boteblueDavid Bote picked up four hits and a walk Saturday night, but the Lynchburg Hillcats dispatched the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4-3 in 12 innings to take Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship at TicketReturn.com Field.

With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the twelfth, Hillcats (1-0) shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang singled to left before Connor Marabell drew a walk against Pelicans (0-1) reliever James Pugliese (0-1). Yonathan Mendoza then laid down a bunt to third. Pelicans third baseman Jesse Hodges threw to first but the ball hit Mendoza in the back and bounced into right field. That allowed Chang to score and give Lynchburg a 4-3 lead.

Jon Fitzsimmons (1-0) worked a scoreless bottom of the 12th to earn a win in his Hillcats debut.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the second, when Chang singled to center before Marabell reached on a single of his own. With Chang at third, Mendoza singled off the glove of the pitcher Erick Leal to plate Chang and give the Cats a 1-0 lead.

With the same score in the third, Lynchburg catcher Francisco Mejia singled on a grounder down the line before stealing second base. With two outs, Dorssys Paulino singled to center to score Mejia and extend the Lynchburg lead to 2-0.

Hillcats starter Thomas Pannone worked five scoreless innings before Donnie Dewees began the bottom of the sixth with a double to left. After Bote moved him to third on an infield single, Ian Rice dropped an RBI single into center to cut the deficit to 2-1. After a Jeffrey Baez singled loaded the bases with no outs, Andrew Ely lined a ball to left. Paulino made a sliding catch and then doubled up Rice at second. Meanwhile, Bote tagged at third and came home to score to tie the game at two.

The Pelicans bullpen combined to retire the next 16 consecutive Lynchburg hitters. Daury Torrez worked three perfect innings while striking out four, before Scott Effross retired the next seven straight to push the game to extras.

With the game still tied at two in the top of the 11th, Anthony Santander homered to deep right center to give the Hillcats a 3-2 lead.

With the Birds needing a run in the bottom of the inning, Charcer Burks drew a walk before Dewees bunted him to second. Bote followed with a single up the middle to score Burks and push the game to the 12th.

Bote reached base five times in the contest, and is now 9-for-14 with three walks and 4 RBIs in the postseason.

The Pelicans will look to draw the best-of-five series even in their final home game of 2016 on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Jeremy Null (5-6, 4.20) makes the start for Myrtle Beach, while Brock Hartson (2-1, 4.18) takes the ball for Lynchburg.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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