Pelicans rally past Mudcats for 30th victory of season

pel-2014hitThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans broke a 2-2 tie with a four-run seventh inning to defeat the Carolina Mudcats 6-2 on Saturday night at Five County Stadium.

Alexander Claudio matched a season-high in innings and strikeouts, tossing five scoreless frames with seven strikeouts to keep the Mudcats from scoring after the fourth. The Pelicans (30-17) lead the Carolina League Southern Division by 4.5 games with two weeks left in the first half of the season.

The game was a back-and-forth affair in the early going. Just like on Friday, the Mudcats (22-24) scored in the first inning, but so did the Pelicans. The two starters, Myrtle Beach’s Sam Wolff and Carolina’s Shawn Morimando both came in in the top four in the league in opponents’ batting average, but both allowed a run on three hits in the first inning.

Wolff faced the minimum in the second and third inning. In the fourth, he allowed consecutive singles to Alex Monsalve and Jerrud Sabourin. Wolff retired the next two, but James Roberts broke the tie with a two-out single, scoring Monsalve and giving the Mudcats a 2-1 lead.

The Pelicans (30-17) struck right back with a run in the fifth off of Morimando. Hanser Alberto coaxed a one-out walk. Getting into scoring position on a fielder’s choice, Alberto came home to tie it on one of three singles from Nick Williams. Williams knocked in two in the game and extended his hitting streak to eleven games, the longest by a Pelican this season.

The Birds scored the final five runs of the game, but didn’t score again until the seventh. Morimando came back in the sixth, striking out the side to finish his night. Myrtle Beach went right to work against the bullpen. On came Rob Nixon in the seventh. He walked Alfaro and then gave up a bunt single to Chris Grayson. Alberto moved both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.

The infield drew in, and Chris Garia sent a smash to shortstop. Yhoxian Medina got a piece of the ball, but it skipped off his glove and into shallow center field. Both runs scored on the error, and the Pelicans took a 4-2 lead. They added two more in the inning on RBI singles from Williams and Preston Beck.

Claudio relieved Wolff in the fifth. He kept the Mudcats off the scoreboard over five innings, going the rest of the way to finish off Carolina. He matched a season-high with seven strikeouts and allowed only two Mudcats into scoring position. Claudio has not allowed an earned run in his last fifteen innings of work.

Claudio (3-0) earned the win. Nixon (1-3) took the defeat, going just 2/3 of an inning, allowing all four seventh inning runs.

Myrtle Beach plays game three of the series with the Carolina Mudcats at 6:00 p.m.

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