First-place Pelicans rip Red Sox for fourth straight win

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (21-13) won their fourth straight game Friday, upending the Salem Red Sox 5-1 at TicketReturn.com Field.

Left-hander Victor Payano earned his third win of the season, hurling seven scoreless innings of two-hit baseball. The four-game spurt matches the team’s longest streak of the season.

It was a scoreless game entering the fifth, but the Birds scored three times in the fifth and two times in the sixth to help secure a win. Myrtle Beach has outscored its opponents 28-7 on the current home stand.

Trever Adams, Royce Bolinger and Jake Skole all tallied two hits, backing Payano (3-2), who unfurled a nine-strikeout performance in a winning effort.  Payano had four strikeouts in his first two innings and retired the first nine batters he faced in the game.

The Pelicans scored three times in the fifth inning. The first run scored following a Drew Robinson sacrifice which led to a William Cuevas throwing error, allowing Jake Skole to score the first run. Rougned Odor followed with a sacrifice fly and Kellin Deglan capped the rally with an RBI single. Cuevas (1-4) took the loss for Salem, allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits over five innings.

The Birds added two runs in the sixth. Skole singled in a run and later scored on an RBI groundout from Drew Robinson.

The Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning, but Payano got Henry Ramos to hit into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play. Trailing 5-1 with the bases juiced in the eighth, Paul Schwendel got Keury De La Cruz, the potential tying run, to ground out to second.

Schwendel allowed a run on three hits over an inning while Randol Rojas wrapped the game up with a quick, quiet ninth.

The Pelicans are 13-4 on their home field this season, the best clip in the Carolina League.

The seven-inning effort matches the deepest of Payano’s professional career, while his nine punch outs was one shy of matching a season-best.

The Pelicans continue a four-game series Saturday with the Salem Red Sox. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.90) will be opposed by Salem’s left-hander Henry Owens (3-1, 2.25). First pitch is on tap for 7:05 p.m.

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