Pelicans top Mudcats for series split, second place

pel-garciaRobert Garcia homered and Justin Steele struck out seven over five strong innings Monday to help the Myrtle Beach Pelicans down the Carolina Mudcats 6-3 to record a series split and vault back into second place at Five County Stadium.

The game was scoreless when Matt Rose reached on the first of six Carolina errors to begin the second. A Tyler Alamo single put runners on the corners. Trent Giambrone followed with an RBI ground out and then Jesse Hodges singled in Alamo to make it 2-0 Myrtle Beach (28-24). Carolina (27-24) starter Cody Ponce (5-4) then served up a two-run shot to Garcia to increase the Birds’ lead to 4-0.

Luis Aviles hit a leadoff homer against Steele (3-3) in the third to get Carolina on the board. Two batters later, Carlos Belonis doubled before Corey Ray singled him to third. Troy Stokes Jr. then lifted a sacrifice fly to left to cut the deficit to 4-2.

That would be the only damage against Steele in his five innings of work. The southpaw surrendered just three hits without walking a batter. He struck out seven in his fifth straight start of no more than two earned runs allowed.

Mike Rucker came into the game in the sixth and struck out the side. The right-hander wound up whiffing a career-high six in 3.1 frames, which matched a career-best. Dillon Maples recorded the final two outs of the game to seal the win.

Myrtle Beach led 4-2 in the fourth when Alamo, who had two hits, singled to begin the inning. Two batters later, Hodges was hit by a pitch. Two batters after that, Bryant Flete recorded the first of his two RBI singles to make it 5-2.

With the score the same, Garcia walked with two outs in the sixth before going to second on an error. Flete then singled him in to pad the lead at 6-2.

After a league-wide off day on Tuesday, the Pelicans return home for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday, as Myrtle Beach begins a four-game series with Down East.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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