Pelicans drop first-place showdown with Red Sox

pel-pitchbeardDaniel Spingola notched three hits, but the Salem Red Sox blew open Thursday’s rain-shortened game late, winning the series opener 8-2 in eight innings over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at LewisGale Field to take over first place in the Carolina League Southern Division.

Myrtle Beach (54-50, 18-16) starter Trevor Clifton (5-7) rolled through the first five innings, yielding just one hit as the Birds took a 1-0 lead. However, Salem (61-41, 17-16) finally got to him in the sixth inning. Jose Sermo led off with a base hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Reed Gragnani drilled a game-tying RBI single to right. The next batter was Rafael Devers, who drilled a two-run homer to right to make it 3-1 Red Sox.

Clifton’s line was skewed by the sixth, as he allowed three runs on four hits without walking a batter and whiffing six.

With the score still 3-1, David Bote began the eighth with a single. Two batters later, Donnie Dewees did the same to push Bote to third. After Dewees stole second, Jeffrey Baez hit a ball back to the mound. Salem reliever Simon Mercedes looked Bote back to third and threw to first for the out. However, Dewees had gone too far off second. Red Sox first baseman Nick Longhi threw to first, Dewees beat the throw and Bote sprinted in to make it 3-2.

The Red Sox, though, would blow it open in the bottom of the frame. Sermo walked to start in the inning. Two batters later, Joseph Monge singled to put runners on first and second. A double steal and strikeout set up second and third with two outs for Rafael Devers, who the Birds decided to intentionally walk to load the bases. Nick Longhi responded with a two-run single to make it 5-2. Mike Meyes and Danny Mars then plated back-to-back triples, plating three runs to increase the advantage to 8-2 before rain rolled in, ending the game after a 34-minute delay.

Mario Alcantara (9-1) earned the win with 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen in relief of Michael Kopech, who yielded a run in 4.1 frames. Mercedes earned his fourth save.

The Pelicans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third on a Bryant Flete sacrifice fly. However, they left the bases loaded in the frame and eight men on throughout the game.

The Birds send RHP Preston Morrison (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound for his first career High-A start in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game against Salem.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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