Pelicans shoot down Sox, claim series rubber match

pel-catcherMyrtle Beach Pelicans catcher Erick Castillo threw out five Salem Red Sox baserunners Thursday to lead the Birds to a 3-2 victory and series win in front of 5,692 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Six of Salem’s (68-47, 25-21) 27 outs came on the base paths, with Castillo responsible for five of the assists.

After the Pelicans (65-52, 29-18) left the bases loaded in the first, they got a leadoff double from Jesse Hodges in a scoreless game in the second. After Andrew Ely bunted him to third, Castillo hit a chopper to first baseman Nick Longhi. Longhi’s throw to the plate was late, and Myrtle Beach took a 1-0 lead.

Still up 1-0 in the third, Pelicans first baseman Yasiel Balaguert cleared the wall in left with a line drive home run, his organization-leading 18th of the year. Bryant Flete followed with a single to center. After reaching second on an error, Flete scored when Ely drove him home on a single to right three batters later to make it 3-0 Birds.

In the top of the fourth, Salem third baseman Rafael Devers homered to right off Myrtle Beach starter Preston Morrison (2-0) to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Morrison pitched into the seventh inning, giving up just one run on five hits over 6.2 innings. He’s held opponents to three earned runs on 15 hits over his first 19.2 innings with the Pelicans (1.37 ERA).

Tommy Nance worked 1.1 scoreless innings to maintain the Birds’ 3-1 lead into the ninth.

Leading off the ninth, Devers ripped another home run to right to make it a 3-2 game. Pelicans closer Ryan McNeil bounced back to retire the next three batters and earn his league-leading 19th save of the year.

The Pelicans will travel to Carolina Thursday at 7 p.m. to take on the Mudcats.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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