Pelicans thrill sellout crowd, national TV audience in win

pel-6In front of more than 6,000 fans and a Sunday night television audience, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, rallied in come-from-behind fashion to beat the Carolina Mudcats at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

The 4-1 final score was spurred by a three-run sixth inning that began with a home run from outfielder Mark Zagunis.

The Mudcats (27-28) slipped out to an early lead in the fourth inning when right fielder Joey Meneses singled up the middle to open the scoring. After Pelicans starter Jen-Ho Tseng induced a pair of fly outs to start the frame, back-to-back singles allowed Meneses to move Carolina ahead, 1-0.

Zagunis, a right-handed batter who homered to straightaway centerfield on Friday, launched a towering home run down the right field line in the sixth inning to tie the contest. Carolina starter Blair Walters, who struck out six batters in his first three frames, was perfect through three innings on the mound until Zagunis bounced a ground-rule double to left-centerfield in the fourth. Carlos Penalver, who reached on a fielding error at shortstop, was the only other baserunner until the sixth inning rally.

The Pelicans (33-22) took control of the game after Zagunis’ home run. Back-to-back walks of Chesny Young and Victor Caratini brought Jacob Rogers to the plate, and the left-handed slugger crushed a go-ahead double to the right-centerfield gap to move the Pelicans in front 3-1. That hit ended Walters’ night across 5 2/3 innings from the mound.

In the seventh, Trey Martin popped up a bunt and first baseman Sal Giardina attempted a diving catch. A controversial call ruled the catch as a trap, and Martin moved to third base when Daniel Lockhart doubled to left in the next at-bat. With the infield drawn in, Zagunis bounced to shortstop, but Johan Camargo dropped the ball, allowing Martin to score the final run of the game.

Left-hander Michael Heesch (4-0), who relieved Tseng in the fifth, won his fourth decision from the bullpen. With a runner on second, he induced a ground out before walking a batter, but worked out of the inning with another groundout. The six-foot, five-inch hurler has now stranded all eight runners he’s inherited out of the bullpen this season. He finished with two complete innings, giving up three hits while also striking out two.

Right-hander James Pugliese fired 2 2/3 innings for his fourth save of the season. He allowed one hit while striking out two. Tseng took no decision in 4 1/3 innings.

Walters (2-2) was saddled with the loss over the course of 5 2/3 frames.

The Pelicans will hit the road again to begin a four-game series against the Frederick Keys On Monday.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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