Pelicans’ rally bid falls short on P-Nats’ walk-off homer

A Zack Short homer in the eighth inning Thursday capped a wild comeback, but Potomac’s Jack Sundberg hit a walk-off two-run home run in the ninth to give the Nationals a 9-8 win and series sweep of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Pftizner Stadium.

Myrtle Beach (59-57, 16-30) led 8-7 when reliever Pedro Araujo (4-1) walked Daniel Johnson with one out in the ninth. Sundberg then slammed a two-run homer to win the game for Potomac (53-62, 20-25). The Nationals executed their first sweep of the Pelicans since 2013, with the Birds falling in their first road brooming since July 22-24 of the 2015 campaign.

The Pelicans initially took the lead for the first time in the eighth. Trailing 6-4, Eddy Martinez was hit by a pitch and Tyler Pearson singled to begin the frame. A walk to pinch hitter Adonis Paula loaded the bases before a wild pitch brought in a Birds run. Roberto Caro notched an RBI groundout to pull Myrtle Beach to within 7-6. Potomac then elected to bring in reliever R.C. Orlan (1-0), who was greeted by Short’s two-run shot to left to put Myrtle Beach in front.

Potomac built an early lead until the Pelicans’ frantic rally late. In the first inning, Sundberg singled with one out and stole second. Two batters later, he scored on an Ian Sagdal RBI single. The Nationals made it 2-0 when Jakson Reetz homered to start the second.

The tally remained 2-0 until the fifth. Robert Garcia, who had two hits, and Caro each singled with one out. Short registered one of his three walks to load the bases for Vimael Machin, who deposited a two-run single to left to knot the score at two.

However, the P-Nats came roaring right back to grab the lead. Rhett Wiseman doubled and Dale Carey singled him in to promptly give Potomac a 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the fifth. Later in the frame, Sundberg lifted a sacrifice fly to add to the margin at 4-2.

With two outs in the sixth, Pelicans reliever Jordan Minch hit Reetz with a pitch and walked Wiseman. Carey placed a two-run triple to add to the lead at 6-2.

Garcia jumpstarted the seventh with a leadoff single and Caro drilled his first home run, a two-run shot, to halve the lead at 6-4. It was Caro’s first long ball since July 15, 2014 when he played for the DSL Cubs.

Like earlier in the game, Potomac had a quick answer for a Pelicans run. Johnson was hit by a pitch and stole second base to begin the bottom of the seventh. After a strikeout, a groundout bumped him to third. Johnson then raced home on a wild pitch to pad the advantage at 7-4.

The Pelicans return home to begin a three-game series with the Carolina Mudcats in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. contest.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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