Pelicans claim first half title, set celebration for Saturday

pel-45pointThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans swept the Lynchburg Hillcats with a 9-2 win and clinched the first half of the Southern Division on Thursday.

Salem’s 9-8 loss in 12 innings to Frederick clinched the first half for the Birds, who earned their third first half title in four years and clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season.

Passing up celebrating in Lynchburg, the team has decided to celebrate their first half championship at home with fans this Saturday night.  Fans are invited to join them after the game as we take a look back at the first half and celebrate their victory.

The Pelicans (40-18) never trailed in the three games against the Hillcats (30-30). The club scored in the first inning in each of the first two games and scored three runs in the second on Thursday.

Lynchburg starter Jarrett Miller pitched a perfect first. In the second, Joey Gallo opened the frame with his career-best 51st walk. Preston Beck singled him to the third. David Lyon then flied to center field, sacrificing Gallo home for the first run of the inning.

The next two tallies were unearned. In his Pelicans’ debut, Alberto Triunfel reached on an error in his first plate appearance. With men at the corners, Kevin Torres picked up a sacrifice fly as well. The fly out should have been the third out of the inning. Instead, it put the Birds up 2-0. Triunfel scored from third two batters later on a wild pickoff throw from Miller.

In his first start since May 25, Chi Chi Gonzalez tossed two scoreless frames to open his night. The Hillcats got to him in the third, however. They knocked four straight hits off of the right-hander, bringing home a run and loading the bases. Another scored on a double-play ball, and Gonzalez escaped the inning with a 3-2 lead by striking out Eric Garcia.

The Hillcats wouldn’t score again. Myrtle Beach forced an early exit for Miller in the fifth with a leadoff single and then an RBI triple from Jorge Alfaro. With a 4-2 deficit, Lynchburg brought on Zach Jadofsky. The Birds greeted him with three straight base hits, including doubles from Beck and Lyon.

When the inning was over, the Pelicans had scored four times, two to ledger of Miller and two to Jadofsky.

Myrtle Beach added two more runs in the ninth. Chris Garia collected his league-leading ninth triple to drive home a run, and he scored on a fielder’s choice by Alfaro.

The Pelicans bullpen continued their dominance with five scoreless innings to finish off Lynchburg. Will Lamb had his best performance to date with three scoreless innings. He allowed two singles and struck out four without giving up a walk. Abel De Los Santos faced the minimum over two scoreless and hitless innings. He fanned one.

Lamb (1-1) picked up the win, his first of the year. Miller (2-5) took the loss, allowing five runs, three earned, in four plus innings.

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