Pelicans take doubleheader, go for sweep of Blue Rocks

pel-6hitThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers, swept the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the doubleheader on Saturday night at Pelicans Ballpark.

The Pelicans won game one 4-3 and were victorious 7-2 in game two. In both games, the club erased a first-inning deficit to overcome the Blue Rocks and are now 5-0 against Wilmington this season.

In game one, the Blue Rocks (7-9) jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on Luis Parra and the Pelicans. The first four batters collected hits, including an RBI from Royals prospect Bubba Starling. A groundball double play from Myrtle Beach, one of two turned in the game, helped Parra out of the inning but three runs had scored.

The Pelicans (10-6), however, came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Working against the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for April 3-13, Christian Binford, Myrtle Beach got a run on two two-out singles from Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro to set things up for Preston Beck. The Birds’ first baseman hit a grand slam on Thursday night in his last start, and he clubbed a double to score two runs in his first plate appearance on Saturday night to tie the ballgame.

Neither team scored until the fifth inning of the seven-inning game. Binford retired ten in-a-row from the end of the first through the fourth. Parra scattered a walk and two singles over four scoreless innings after the first.

Zach Cone led off the sixth with a walk and stole his first base of the year to get himself into scoring position. After an Odubel Herrera fly out, Christopher Bostick singled Cone home on a ground ball to left field to give the Pelicans their first lead at 4-3.

Keone Kela recorded the final five outs, setting down the Blue Rocks in order, including a three-strikeout ninth inning for his fourth save. Parra (3-0) became the first Pelicans pitcher to three wins. Binford (1-1) was handed his first loss.

Again the Pelicans fell behind in the first in game two. Victor Payano, the Pelicans starting pitcher, walked four batters in the first inning to allow the first run. Myrtle Beach answered the run in the second to tie it at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly from Royce Bolinger.

Payano settled in. After the rocky first, he kept Wilmington off the scoreboard for the rest of his outing, which lasted 3.2 innings. He surrendered three hits and walked five but fanned six and only one of the walks came after the first inning.

Bolinger added to his haul in the third inning, plating two on a double to give the Pelicans a 3-1 lead. Myrtle Beach added another in the fourth and scored three runs in the fifth inning. Bolinger clubbed the big hit of the three-run frame as well, a two-run homer. The Pelicans right fielder went 2-for-2 with a double, a homer, a sacrifice fly, a run scored, and a career-high five RBIs in game two. He is 8-for-15 with two homers and seven RBIs during the homestand.

The 7-1 lead was trimmed by a run in the seventh, but Cody Ege (2-0) finished the final 3.1 innings to earn the win. Ege struck out four and allowed one run, earned, on four hits and no walks.

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