Pelicans, Martinez extend hot streaks on home field

pel-40The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won their sixth consecutive home game and the 10th in their last 11 at home by beating the Wilmington Blue Rocks 6-1 in their series opener at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Tuesday night.

In spite of the Birds hitting into their first triple play of the year, Pelicans starter Jonathan Martinez won his eighth game of the year while handing the Blue Rocks their ninth consecutive loss in the process.

The Pelicans (63-45, 22-17 second half) moved in front 2-0 with a two-run, second-inning bloop single into shallow right field by Carlos Penalver off of Blue Rocks starter Luis Rico. Jason Vosler began the frame with an infield single before Cael Brockmeyer walked and a groundout sent each man into scoring position, setting up Penalver’s run-scoring hit.

Later in the visiting fourth, with a runner on first base, Wilmington (52-56, 14-24 second half) shaved its deficit to 2-1 when center fielder Alfredo Escalera roped an RBI double to the left-center field wall.

However in the bottom of the same inning, Vosler walked and Brockmeyer lined a sharp single to left. Victor Caratini then loped a soft fly ball toward right field where second baseman Humberto Arteaga made a diving catch as he collided with right fielder Elier Hernandez. With both runners moving on the play, Arteaga threw to second base for the beginning of a 4-6-3 triple play.

In response, Martinez retired the side in order in the top of the fifth, striking out the first two batters before catcher Santiago Nessy flew out to deep left-center field.

Against Rico and reliever Matt Alvarez, the Pelicans broke open the game in the sixth, collecting four hits and two walks to score four runs to take a 6-1 lead. Vosler, Brockmeyer, and Chesny Young each collected their second hits of the game, and Trey Martin lashed a two-run double to left.

Left-hander Michael Heesch relieved Martinez (8-2) with scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Martinez walked two and allowed just an earned run on three hits, while Heesch surrendered one walk and collected a strikeout. In the ninth, David Berg allowed a two-out double, but he slammed the door with three strikeouts to seal the win.

Rico (5-7) took the loss after surrendering four runs, all earned, on six hits and three walks across 5 1/3 innings of work. Alvarez pitched 2/3 of an inning and was struck for two earned runs on two hits and a pair of walks.

The Pelicans continue game two of their three-game set with the Blue Rocks beginning Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Daury Torrez (8-6, 3.92) will take the mound for Myrtle Beach while Wilmington will hand the ball to right-hander Zach Lovvorn (2-3, 5.53).

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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