Pelicans put four out in Keys road game victory

HomerThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans drilled four home runs Saturday to back five strong innings from Thomas Hatch in a 9-5 win over the Frederick Keys at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.

The game was scoreless in the second inning when Jesse Hodges popped a solo home run to left off Frederick (36-48, 5-10) starter Keegin Akin (6-6). Matt Rose followed with a solo shot of his own to increase the Pelicans (49-37, 6-10) lead to 2-0.

Zack Short then reached on an error, but Akin retired the final 14 batters he faced. The southpaw ceded just two runs on two hits in six innings, striking out nine against one walk.

Hatch was tremendous, yielding just one run on six hits in five frames. The right-hander issued just one free pass against his five punchouts to earn the win.

Frederick’s lone run against Hatch came in the fourth inning. Ademar Rifaela singled to begin the frame. After Randolph Gassaway struck out, Shane Hoelscher singled and Alex Murphy walked to load the bases. Glynn Davis followed with an RBI single to cut the Birds’ lead to 2-1.

The score would remain that way until the seventh. Tyler Alamo singled before Hodges doubled him to third. Rose then grounded a ball to the Keys’ first baseman Murphy, who threw wild to the plate, allowing both Alamo and Hodges to score.

In the eighth, Jay Gonzalez singled and Ryan Mountcastle walked before a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position. Rifaela then cashed both of them in with a two-run single to pull the Keys to within 4-3.

Myrtle Beach received some important insurance in the ninth. Rose doubled to start the frame, and two batters later, Connor Myers doubled him in. The Keys elected to intentionally walk Bryant Flete, which increased his on-base streak to 18 games. A balk moved the runners to second and third. P.J. Higgins lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Myers. Trent Giambrone then blasted a two-run homer to left-center to widen the margin to 8-3. For the second time, the Pelicans went back-to-back as Eddy Martinez powered a laser over the wall in left to push the advantage to 9-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, James Norwood retired the first two batters before Armando Araiza homered. Norwood hit Ricardo Andujar with a pitch. Defensive indifference pushed Andujar to second. A Gonzalez infield single coupled with a Myrtle Beach error brought in Andujar to cut the Birds’ lead to 9-5. Norwood then walked Mountcastle before getting Rifaela to ground out to end the ballgame.

The Pelicans send LHP Ryan Kellogg (3-6, 5.37 ERA) to the mound in Sunday’s 6 p.m. contest against Keys RHP Cristian Alvarado (3-8, 6.27 ERA). Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

Photo: MB Pelicans/Larry Kave

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