Leal aces Mudcats, halts Pelicans’ five-game skid

Erick Leal struck out eight in five innings of one-hit ball Tuesday to help the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to a doubleheader split with the Carolina Mudcats from Five County Stadium. The Birds dropped the opener 5-4 before taking the finale 2-0.

In the finale, Leal (1-1) yielded only a two-out double to Demi Orimoloye in the first inning. After that, the right-hander cruised en route to his first win of the season. Jose Paulino worked the finale two frames for his second save.

The Pelicans (47-55, 13-19) did not need much offense to back Leal. Jose Gutierrez jumpstarted the third inning with a single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Jhonny Pereda singled him in against Carolina (51-50, 17-14) starter Conor Harber (4-5) for the game’s first run.

The score remained 1-0 until the seventh inning. Gutierrez walked and moved up to third two hitters later on Aramis Ademan’s double. After Pereda flew out, Jared Young brought in a run with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

In the opener, Wladimir Galindo started a scoreless fifth with a double. A walk and an error loaded the bases before Galindo was thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch. Nevertheless, Roberto Caro rocketed an RBI single for the game’s first run.

Carolina wound up tying the game in the sixth. Weston Wilson reached on an error to begin the frame. After a ground out moved him to second, consecutive singles by Dallas Carroll and Ryan Aguilar, who notched his on a bunt, knotted the score at one.

Caro blasted a two-run home run in the seventh to put Myrtle Beach ahead again. However, the Mudcats mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh. Orimoloye singled before Wilson doubled him to second. Cooper Hummel’s two-run single then tied the game at three.

In the top of the eighth inning, Yeiler Peguero’s sacrifice fly against reliever Luke Barker (5-3) placed the Pelicans in front again.

However, in the bottom of the eighth, Dustin Houle doubled with one out to plate Carroll, who had started the inning on second. Following a single and intentional walk, Devin Hairston registered a walk-off single to center off Tyler Peyton (2-3) to win the game for the Mudcats at 5-4.

The Pelicans and Mudcats play at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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