Pelicans split doubleheader with Dash thanks to Clifton

pel-pitchbeardTrevor Clifton fanned seven over 5.1 scoreless innings in game two of Wednesday’s twin bill to help the Myrtle Beach Pelicans earn a split of Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Winston-Salem Dash.

The Pelicans (21-17) won the second game of the twin bill behind strong pitching from Clifton (2-3) and Jose Rosario, who combined to allow only four hits in seven innings.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the first, Pelicans center fielder Rashad Crawford cranked a double to right before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gleyber Torres. After Ian Happ walked against starter Andre Wheeler (2-1), Happ stole second, which caused Dash (15-25) catcher Sean O’Connell to bounce a throw into center field. Crawford came home on the error, making it 1-0 Myrtle Beach.

With the score still 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Birds shortstop Daniel Lockhart lined a home run over the right center field wall to extend the lead to 2-0.

That would be all the offense the Pelicans would need.

In a 2-0 game in the top of the sixth, Clifton would walk Dash centerfielder Adam Engel, giving way to Rosario. Hunter Jones promptly singled Engel to third and then stole second, putting the tying run on second with one out.

Rosario proceeded to strike out Gerson Montilla and Keon Barnum consecutively to preserve the lead. Rosario worked a scoreless seventh to earn his fourth save of the year.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Winston-Salem victimized Pelicans starter Zach Hedges (3-4) for seven runs on seven hits over 1.2 innings. The start was Hedges’ shortest of the year and his five earned runs were a season-high.

After the Dash got two runs in the top of the first, the Pelicans got hits from Crawford and Torres before Happ walked. Yasiel Balaguert crushed the first pitch he saw from Thad Lowry out of the stadium, only to see it go foul. On the very next pitch, Balaguert pulled another Lowry offering over the wall in left for a grand slam, giving Myrtle Beach a 4-2 lead.

But the advantage was short-lived. The Dash got five against Hedges in the second, capped by a three-run homer from Gerson Montilla.

Relievers James Pugliese and Daury Torrez each allowed one run over a combined 5.1 innings of solid relief.

Winston-Salem and Myrtle Beach pounded out a combined 26 hits in seven innings, as the Dash earned a 9-5 win.

Crawford and Lockhart each had three hits in game one. Crawford finished the doubleheader 5-for-7 with three doubles and a stolen base while Lockhart went 4-for-6 with a home run.

The two teams will play the rubber game of the three-game set on Thursday, with Erick Leal (4-2, 3.94 ERA) going for Myrtle Beach, while Jordan Stephens (0-5, 5.06 ERA) gets the Winston-Salem nod. The game begins at 7:05 p.m.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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