Pelicans become Mermen for one night only in loss

pel-mermenThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans paid tribute to the HBO show “East Bound and Down” Thursday by becoming the fictional Myrtle Beach Mermen for one night only.

Charcer Burks extended his on-base streak to 21 games and Yasiel Balaguert smacked his team-high 13th home run of the season, but the Mermen fell 9-4 to the Wilmington Blue Rocks Thursday in front of a sellout crowd of 6,599 at TicketReturn.com Field.

Wilmington (35-61, 8-19) got the scoring going right away against Mermen (49-48, 13-14) starter Jake Stinnett (7-4). After Brian Bien reached on an error to start the top of the first, Anderson Miller homered to the opposite field to make it 2-0 Blue Rocks. Samir Duenez then singled to right before stealing second base. After a wild pitch, Duenez came home on a Myrtle Beach error to open up a 3-0 advantage.

Rashad Crawford singled to begin the bottom of the first for Myrtle Beach. After advancing to second on a balk, he scored on an error to make the score 3-1.

In the top of the second, Wilmington got a single from Austin Bailey before a Robert Pehl single coupled with an error allowed Bailey to score from first. After a sacrifice bunt moved Pehl to third, Miller drove him in on a sacrifice fly to right, extending the Blue Rocks lead to 5-1.

The Blue Rocks kept the line moving in the third, getting three straight hits from Chad Johnson, Elier Hernandez and Luis Villegas to load the bases with nobody out. Baily and Pehl followed by plating runs on consecutive sacrifice flies to make it 7-1.

With Myrtle Beach trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the third, Crawford drew a leadoff walk and promptly stole second base. Gleyber Torres then reached on an error to push Crawford to third. Blue Rocks starter Corey Ray (6-3) uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Crawford to score and make the tally 7-2. Two batters later, Balaguert lined a homer over the stands in left center to cut the deficit to 7-4.

However, Myrtle Beach wouldn’t get any closer. Ray went six innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits while striking out eight.

Still leading by three in the top of the sixth, Pehl led off with a single before Bien reached on a fielder’s choice. The next batter was Miller, who clubbed an RBI triple to the wall in center to make it 8-4. Duenez followed with a single to right to score Miller and cap the scoring at 9-4.

Coming in off the bench in the eighth inning, Burks singled to left to pass Ian Happ for the longest on-base streak by a Myrtle Beach player this season at 21 games.

Derek Gordon and Jake Kalish combined for three shutout innings to polish off the Blue Rocks’ victory.

Myrtle Beach reliever Tommy Nance worked two scoreless innings in his High-A debut.

Myrtle Beach and Wilmington will meet again at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. RHP Trevor Clifton (4-6, 3.23 ERA) makes the start for the home team against LHP Matt Tenuta (3-7, 6.08 ERA). All fans are encouraged to dress up as pirates to celebrate Pirate Night.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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