Punchless Pelicans finally end slump, but just barely

pel-penalver

Down to their final out in the last of the ninth inning on Friday, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans trumped the Carolina Mudcats with a walk-off, 2-1 win at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Chesny Young tapped a two-strike ground ball back to the pitcher’s mound, and with two errors on the same play, Carlos Penalver scored the game-winning run from second base.

On the heels of a four-game losing-streak, the Pelicans (47-38, 6-10 second half) entered the ninth inning locked in a 1-1 tie. Penalver drew a one-out walk, and after a pop-out to shortstop, he stole second base without a throw. Young then cued a soft ground ball to the first-base side of the pitcher’s mound, but a fielding error along with a throwing error on the same play by reliever Richie Tate allowed Penalver to score the walk-off run from second base.

The Pelicans entered the night not having scored in 24 straight innings but broke that streak in the second. The Bird loaded the bases against Mudcats starter Lucas Sims with a lead-off error at shortstop and back-to-back singles. After a strikeout, Penalver gave the Birds a 1-0 lead when he forced in a run with a walk. Of his 32 RBI this season, Penalver has collected 20 of those when he bats with the bases loaded. The tally also snapped a 25 scoreless-inning streak for Myrtle Beach and was the first run the club had scored since Jacob Rogers also drew a bases-loaded walk in the third inning on July 7 against Winston-Salem.

In response, the Mudcats (42-43, 8-8 second half) tied the game in the top of the third. Second baseman Reed Harper lashed a lead-off double to the left-field wall and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter, right fielder Connor Lien, tied the contest at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Pelicans starter Jonathan Martinez tied a career-high seven innings pitched on Friday, but he took no decision. The right-hander picked up a pair of strikeouts along with a pair of walks, scattering fours hits and one earned run.

From the third through the top of the ninth, both teams remained scoreless. The Mudcats had just two baserunners in that span, but only one was in scoring position. The Pelicans had a chance to tack on another run in the second but Lien converted a would-be sacrifice fly into a 9-2 double play to end the frame. The Pelicans left men at second or third in the third, fourth, and sixth, but failed to score, and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Fernando Cruz (1-2) collected his first win of the year with two perfect innings out of the bullpen. Tate (2-1) was saddled with the loss, finishing with just 1/3 of an inning on the mound.

The walk-off victory is the Pelicans’ fourth of the season and first walk-off that wasn’t in extra innings. Both of the Pelicans’ runs in the contest were unearned.

The Pelicans continue their homestand with game two against the Mudcats on Saturday. The first pitch from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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