Late long ball propels Keys to win over sliding Pelicans

pel-millerTrent Giambrone registered two hits and two RBIs Sunday, but a late Ademar Rifaela home run propelled the Frederick Keys to a 5-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.

The score was knotted at three when Glynn Davis doubled off Pelicans (49-38, 6-11) reliever David Berg (0-1) to begin the seventh. Rifaela followed by hitting a two-run home run to right to place Frederick (37-48, 6-10) in front at 5-3.

Tanner Chleborad came into the game from there and worked two perfect innings to pick up his ninth save, as Myrtle Beach again failed to win consecutive contests for the first time in the second half. The Birds’ 6-11 start to the second half matches the 2010 squad for the club’s worst beginning to a second half in recorded club history (through the 2005 season).

The Pelicans jumped on the board early. P.J. Higgins doubled with one out. Giambrone promptly singled him in to get the Birds on the board.

However, the Keys responded immediately. Davis reached on an error and Rifaela singled to start the home half of the first. Two batters later, Yermin Mercedes walked to load the bases. An RBI groundout of the bat of Shane Hoelscher brought in Davis to knot the score. Armando Araiza followed with a two-run double to give Frederick a 3-1 advantage.

The score would remain that way into the seventh. Keys starter Cristian Alvarado, who ceded two runs in 6+ innings, hit Tyler Alamo to begin the seventh and was pulled from the game. New reliever Luis Gonzalez walked Robert Garcia to put runners on first and second. After a pair of outs, Gonzalez issued a free pass to Higgins to load the bases. The southpaw then walked Giambrone to halve the Frederick lead at 3-2.

With the bases still juiced, the Keys brought in right-hander Mike Burke, who promptly walked Eddy Martinez to force in a run and tie the game. However, Burke induced Matt Rose into a fly out to center to escape the jam, setting up Rifaela’s tiebreaking homer in the bottom of the frame.

Kyle Miller pitched 3.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Pelicans.

Myrtle Beach vies for a series split in Monday’s 2 p.m. contest with RHP Mike Rucker (1-2, 2.93 ERA) on the bump against Frederick LHP Brian Gonzalez (2-7, 5.51 ERA).

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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