Pelicans lose pitchers’ duel, face postseason elimination

pel-brinson2The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers, lost Game One of the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series to the Salem Red Sox 3-1 on Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

The Pelicans came back in the eighth inning to tie the game with a Lewis Brinson solo shot to left-center field forcing the contest into extra innings. Jake Romanski hit a two-run home run in the tenth inning, putting Salem ahead by the final score.

The Pelicans (0-1 in postseason) brought on Abel De Los Santos out of the bullpen in the ninth inning, and he stayed in to pitch in the tenth inning. The right-hander faced Mario Martinez to lead off the inning and allowed a single to right field. In the next at-bat, Romanski hit a two-run home run down the left field line to put Salem ahead 3-1.

Manager Joe Mikulik argued the call, and after the umpires convened and upheld the call, Mikulik, hitting coach Josue Perez, and Pelicans’ infielder Nick Vickerson were all ejected.

Kyle Martin, who had entered in the eighth inning and pitched a scoreless ninth, returned for the tenth and shut down the Pelicans, retiring them in order to end the game.

The Pelicans were able to send the game to extra innings despite trailing for most of the contest. Salem (1-0 in postseason) opened the first with their leadoff man aboard, as Matty Johnson worked a walk off of Sam Wolff.

Jose Vinicio then singled to right field advancing Johnson to third. Carlos Asuaje then singled to center field, scoring Johnson to give Salem an early 1-0 lead. Neither team scored again until the eighth inning.

Both starters went at least six innings. Salem’s Jacob Dahlstrand tossed seven shutout frames, surrendered two hits, and struck out eight Pelicans. Wolff went six innings, allowed one earned run, and fanned six batters. He walked two and gave up three hits.

In the eighth inning, Brinson broke Salem’s shutout, hitting a solo shot to left-center field to tie the contest at 1-1 of Madison Younginer. The home run was the only extra base hit for the Pelicans on the night and, at the time, was only the third hit of the ballgame, and first since the second, for Myrtle Beach.

De Los Santos took the loss (0-1). He had not allowed a hit in 8 1/3 innings, spanning five outings, before the tenth-inning single. Martin (1-0) picked up the win in extra innings with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The loss puts the Pelicans one loss away from elimination. If they lose on Thursday, their season is over. If the Pelicans win Game Two, Myrtle Beach forces a decisive Game Three on Friday night, when they will send Chad James to the hill, opposing Salem’s Cody Kukuk. Both games will be played at home at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The winner of the best-of-three set moves on the Mills Cup Championship Series.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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