Pelicans fall to seventh inning Wood Ducks rally

P.J. Higgins reached base five times Sunday for Myrtle Beach, but a five-run Wood Ducks seventh helped Down East rally 9-7 by the Pelicans at Grainger Stadium.

Myrtle Beach (46-34, 3-7) led 7-3 when Kyle Miller (2-2) took over for Pelicans starter Adbert Alzolay to start the seventh inning. Miller promptly gave up three consecutive singles to Brallan Perez, Matt Lipka and Preston Scott to load the bases with nobody out. A force out at the plate retired the first man, but then Luis La O cleared the bags with a triple to pull the Wood Ducks (30-49, 6-4) to within 7-6. Evan Van Hoosier followed with an RBI double to knot the score.

Miller then hit Josh Altmann with a pitch before striking out Chuck Moorman for the frame’s second out. However, the right-hander then walked LeDarious Clark to load the bases. An infield single for Perez plated Van Hoosier and put Down East in front 8-7. The Wood Ducks sent 11 men to the plate in their five-run seventh inning.

In the eighth, Scott led off with a double before going to third on a Yanio Perez base hit. La O then cashed in Scott to pad the lead to 9-7.

Adam Choplick worked the final two innings for his second save of the year. Kelvin Vasquez (2-0) pitched two innings of one-run ball to earn the victory.

Alzolay ended up with a no-decision for Myrtle Beach, surrendering three runs on seven hits in six innings.

Down East jumped on the board first. In a scoreless second, Altmann singled with one out before going to second on a balk. Clark singled him in two batters later to put the Woodies ahead 1-0.

However, Myrtle Beach came back to immediately tie. Bryant Flete, who had three knocks to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, began the third with a single. Trent Giambrone walked and then Higgins singled to load the bases. Two batters later, Eddy Martinez notched an RBI single to knot the tally at one.

Zack Short, Robert Garcia and Connor Myers each singled to start the fourth, jamming the bases. Flete cashed in two with a base hit to right field to put the Pelicans ahead 3-1. Giambrone and Higgins each followed with RBI singles of their own to widen the margin to 5-1. Giambrone then came in to score on a double play ball to make it 6-1.

In the fifth, Clark homered off Alzolay to cut the Birds’ lead to 6-2. Brallan Perez then walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and then went to third on Lipka’s base hit. A Franklin Rollin groundout cashed in Brallan Perez to pull the Wood Ducks to within 6-3.

Vasquez hit Flete with a pitch to begin the sixth before the Birds’ second baseman swiped second. Two batters later, Higgins singled Flete in to push the Pelicans’ lead to 7-3.

Myrtle Beach vies for a series split in Monday’s 7 p.m. contest from Grainger Stadium. The Birds send RHP Thomas Hatch (3-7, 3.55 ERA) to the bump against Down East LHP Jeffrey Springs (1-7, 4.54 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

Photo: Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

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