Pelicans level playoff series to set up deciding Game 3

pel-parraThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers, won 4-1 over the Salem Red Sox in Game Two of the Southern Division Championship Series on Thursday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. Preston Beck delivered the go-ahead two-run triple in the bottom of the third inning to help Myrtle Beach snap a five-game postseason losing streak and even the series at 1-1.

The Red Sox (1-1 in postseason) opened the scoring in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Manuel Margot led off with a walk, and then he advanced to third on a single by Mario Martinez. In the next at-bat, Jake Romanski grounded into a fielder’s choice to Pelicans starter Luis Parra, who conceded the run by throwing it to first to retire Romanski. Margot scored, and Martinez advanced to second. Parra escaped the inning when Cole Sturgeon flew out and Matty Johnson grounded out.

It was the only run that Parra would allow. The lefty, who was tied for the club lead in wins during the regular season, tossed 5 2/3 innings, scattering five hits, while striking out four and walking three.

The Pelicans (1-1 in postseason) scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. With one out, Chris Grayson dropped a bunt down the first base line for a single. After Christopher Bostick walked in the next at-bat, Beck smashed a triple down the right field line, allowing Grayson and Bostick to score to give the Pelicans a 2-1 lead, the team’s first lead of the series. In the next at-bat, Ryan Cordell hit a chopper to Red Sox starter Pat Light, but Light failed to field it cleanly. Beck scored from third on the play and Cordell reached first on the error. Light set down the next two hitters to end the frame, but the Pelicans led 3-1 after three innings.

The Birds increased their lead to 4-1 in the fifth. Grayson led off with a triple down the right field line, and Bostick chased Light from the game with a sacrifice fly to score Grayson.

Jonathan Aro entered the game in relief of Light and did not allow a run in 3 2/3 innings pitched over the remainder of the contest.

The Pelicans bullpen tossed 3 1/3 hitless and shutout innings in relief of Parra. Justin Sprenger entered with two in scoring position and two outs in the sixth, but retired Mario Martinez on one pitch to escape the jam.

Salem put a runner in scoring position in the seventh and the eighth but failed to score. Sprenger posted two scoreless innings, and Cody Ege set down the lone man he faced, recording the final out of the eighth.

Jose Leclerc closed out the game, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to nail down the save.

Parra (1-0) picked up the win, while Light (0-1) suffered the loss.

The best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series is now split 1-1. The winner of Friday’s Game Three earns the right to take on the Potomac Nationals in the Mills Cup Championship Series.

Game Three on Friday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Chad James (4-3, 2.74) takes the hill in winner-take-all game for the Pelicans against Red Sox southpaw Cody Kukuk (4-7, 5.26).

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