Pelicans hit the rocks in road series opening loss

pelErick Leal allowed just one run in six innings Friday, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans left nine men on in a 1-0 series-opening loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium.

Leal’s (10-4) lone mistake was a solo home run by Chad Johnson in the third inning. The right-hander yielded just three hits and fanned six without walking a batter in his six innings.

However, Myrtle Beach (43-43, 7-9) could not touch Wilmington (33-52, 6-10) right-hander Zach Lovvorn (1-10). The Alabama native scattered three hits and two walks with help from six punchouts in his six innings.

With the Blue Rocks ahead 1-0 in the sixth, Andrew Ely singled and Charcer Burks walked to begin the inning. After a pop out and fly out, an Ian Rice infield single loaded the bases. However, Lovvorn induced Jason Vosler to pop to short on his 100th pitch of the game to retire the side unscathed.

The Pelicans again threatened in the seventh, putting runners on first and second with two outs. However, they were unable to score, going just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Vosler led off the ninth with a single before Wilmington brought on reliever Derek Gordon, who promptly walked Yasiel Balaguert. David Bote bunted the runners to second and third, but Gordon whiffed Jeffrey Baez and caught Ely looking to earn his sixth save.

Jordan Minch and Pedro Araujo each fired an inning scoreless out of the bullpen.

Myrtle Beach sends RHP Jake Stinnett (7-3, 3.81 ERA) to the bump for Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game against Wilmington RHP Corey Ray (5-2, 3.38 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

The 2016 season is the 18th season for the Pelicans franchise and second as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2016, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail info@myrtlebeachpelicans.com, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

ABOUT THE PELICANS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play their home games at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in each of the last five seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences in all of sports in each of the last five years and the best in the Carolina League for five straight seasons as well. In May 2015, TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark won the 2015 TripAdvisor.com Certificate of Excellence award. The Pelicans are the defending Mills Cup Champions, winning the title in 2015 as well as 2000 and co-Mills Cup championship honors in the inaugural 1999 season. The Pelicans have made nine postseason appearances behind 11 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season, as well as five Southern Division titles, most recently in 2015. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing Info@MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

Photo credit: Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

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