Pelicans lose in Lynchburg for first time this season

pel-batter2The Myrtle Beach Pelicans suffered their first defeat in Lynchburg this season in a 10-7 back-and-forth affair against the Hillcats at Calvin Falwell Field on Sunday evening. The Pelicans had leads of 3-1 and 7-6 erased to fall to 6-4 in the second half.

In the second inning, the Hillcats (7-3, 41-39) captured their first lead at home against the Pelicans (6-4, 50-28) this season. Kevin Ahrens took sole possession of the league lead in doubles with a leadoff two-bagger to open the frame and moved to third on a single from Justin Bloxom. Ahrens came home on a sacrifice fly from catcher Tyler Tewell to give Lynchburg a 1-0 lead.

Jarett Miller faced just one over the minimum over the first three innings, but the Pelicans got to him in the fourth. Hanser Alberto opened the frame and scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly from Jorge Alfaro to tie things up. Preston Beck then launched his seventh home run, a solo shot to right field, to put the Pelicans up 2-1. It was the first of four lead changes on the night. Nick Vickerson and Chris Grayson both doubled to bring across a third run in the inning.

Lynchburg brought ten men to the plate in the inning, eight against starter Chad Bell and two against Pelicans reliever Cody Buckel. Blake Brown plated two with a double in his Hillcats debut, and another scored on a bases loaded walk handed out by Bell. A fourth run came across on a bases loaded wild pitch uncorked by Buckel.

The Hillcats added another run, unearned, off of Jason Knapp in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-3.

The Birds came storming back with a big rally in the seventh. Against one of the standout relievers for the Hillcats, Nate Hyatt, Myrtle Beach brought four runs home on three hits and four walks. The Pelicans pulled within one run on a single from Nick Williams and a double from Alfaro. With men at second and third, Lynchburg intentionally walked Beck to load the bases.

Grayson then landed a soft single in shallow center field, bringing two runs across to give the Pelicans a 7-6 advantage.

Just like in the fourth inning, however, the Hillcats answered in the bottom half of the inning. With two on and two out, Eric Garcia floated a single down the left field line to score two runs and put Lynchburg ahead 8-7.

The Hillcats added two more off of Abel De Los Santos in the eighth inning, making the score 10-7.

Alex Wilson worked a perfect eighth for the Hillcats, but walked two in the ninth, bringing the tying run to the plate. He proceeded to fan Grayson and induce a ground out of David Lyon to close it out.

Wilson (4-2) picked up the win in relief, while Knapp (1-2) took the loss—his first since April 4.

The series between the Pelicans and Hillcats wraps up on Monday night at 7:05 p.m.

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