Pelicans lock down Keys for fifth consecutive victory

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (35-28) won their fifth straight game Tuesday, hanging on to defeat the Frederick Keys 5-4 at TicketReturn.com Field.

The Winston-Salem Dash also won so the Pelicans remain one game up in the southern division heading into play Wednesday.

Luis Sardinas went 4-for-5 for his third four-hit effort of the season. Chris Grayson went 3-for-4 while Joe Maloney and Drew Robinson each went 2-for-4.

Left-hander Victor Payano (5-3) earned the win, allowing two earned runs on two hits over five innings. The southpaw walked three and struck out six. Randol Rojas worked a spotless ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.

The Pelicans struck for five runs on eight hits over the first three innings and built a 5-2 lead against all-star left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Sardinas sparked the second-inning rally with a two-run single. Grayson tallied an RBI hit in the third while Robinson had a run-producing hit in the second and third innings.

Rodriguez (6-3) took the loss, allowing five runs, two earned, on 11 hits over five innings. All three runs in the second inning were unearned after Joe Maloney started the inning by reaching after a strikeout and a passed ball.

Johnny Ruettiger hit a two-run single off Jose Monegro in the sixth inning to pull the Keys to within a run. They stranded the potential tying run 90 feet away in the inning.

Jon Edwards worked a scoreless seventh and eighth innings before Rojas finished things off.

The Pelicans threatened all game long, pounding out 14 hits, the team’s second highest total of the season.

The Keys took the early lead on a sacrifice fly from Christian Walker in the first inning.

The Pelicans wrap up a three-game series Wednesday with the Frederick Keys at TicketReturn.com Field. Right-hander Luke Jackson (5-4, 2.44) will be opposed by Keys’ right-hander Zach Petersime (2-5, 6.99). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.

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