Pelicans rally past Keys, welcome 3 millionth fan

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans used an eighth inning surge Saturday to capture a 4-3 win over the Frederick Keys at Pelicans Ballpark.

Tied at one heading to the bottom of the eighth inning the Pelicans exploded for three runs off Frederick reliever Ryan Berry.  The rally began with singles by Jeremy Williams and Teodoro Martinez.  With one out after a sac bunt, the Keys intentionally walked Odubel Herrera to load the bases.

Hanser Alberto then grounded into an apparent double play, only to watch shortstop Garabez Rosa botch the front end of the turn and retire nobody.  Williams scored and it was 2-1.  Vinny DiFazio then delivered with a two out double, plating two more runs for a 4-1 lead.

Frederick made a furious comeback with a calamitous ninth inning from Birds pitcher Francisco Mendoza.  The righty allowed two runs on three doubles and was pulled with the tying run on the bases.  Roman Mendez was summoned to get the final out and he did, striking out Rosa for his second career save.

Myrtle Beach also got the first run of the game in the second inning.  Vinny DiFazio blasted his fourth homer of the season, a lead-off bomb to make it 1-0 against Tyler Wilson.  The Keys tied it on a Steven Bumbry homer off Jimmy Reyes in the sixth.

On the mound Joe Van Meter fired five shutout innings in his third start of the season.  He allowed only three hits and struck out seven without walking the batter.  Reyes earned the win, his fifth.

Also on Saturday, the Pelicans celebrated the arrival of their 3,000,000th regular season fan Saturday.  Becky Caison of Shallotte, NC earned the honor, walking through the ballpark’s ‘Gate 1’ with her church group.

One of 3,084 fans in attendance Saturday, Caison and her group were upgraded to suite level seating.  Caison also picked up dinner for four to Angelo’s Steak & Pasta (a $100 value), a two night stay at one of the 13 VacationMyrtleBeach.com resort properties, and a Pelicans prize pack.  Angelo’s serves 70,000 steaks a year, now in its 32nd year on the Grand Strand.  The Pelicans prize pack consists of a hat, jersey, autographed team bat and ball.

“This was such a great night for Pelicans baseball,” said General Manager Scott Brown.  “We’d like to say thank you, not only to Becky Caison, but this is also a testament to all three million fans that have helped build success for so long.  We’re not able to provide the entertainment we do without people embracing the team as their own, and we’re overwhelmed by the constant outpouring of support from the community and tourists alike.”

Caison, attending her second Pelicans game, was greeted at the gate with balloons and confetti along with a visit from the team’s mascot, Splash.  The was also recognized by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

The Pelicans (25-17) managed to maintain its tie atop the Carolina League Southern Division’s second-half standings with the Winston-Salem Dash. The Dash won the first-half title to earn a bid to the playoffs so the Pelicans are technically four games ahead of the Carolina Mudcats for the second-half title and a playoff berth.

The Pelicans conclude their series looking for the sweep against Frederick Sunday at 6:05 with postgame fireworks.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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