Pelicans open second half by slamming Blue Rocks

pel-alfredoThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans opened the second half of the season with an 8-2 comeback victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday night at Pelicans Ballpark in front of a sellout crowd of 6,599.

Hanser Alberto hit his first career grand slam, and Chad Bell won his first start of the year for Myrtle Beach.

In his return to the Grand Strand, Bell, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2013, pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, two runs, two walks, and striking out one. Bell spent all of 2011 with the Pelicans and the beginning of 2012 with the club.

The Blue Rocks (0-1, 33-36) started the scoring in the top of third inning. With one out, Jack Lopez singled to right field. In the next at-bat, Bubba Starling launched an RBI triple to deep right-center field, scoring Lopez. The Blue Rocks led 1-0.

Wilmington pushed its lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Cam Gallagher led the inning off with a single. Daniel Rockett hit a sacrifice bunt to move Gallagher to second base. Kenny Diekroeger then singled on a ground ball to shallow right field, advancing Gallagher to third. With runners on the corners, Terrance Gore grounded into a fielder’s choice. Gallagher scored on the play.

The Pelicans (1-0, 45-24) cut the Blue Rocks’ lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Alberto doubled down the left field line. Two batters later, David Lyon scored Alberto from third base with an infield single.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Pelicans took the lead for good. With one out, Jose Cardona, Luis Mendez, and Garia hit consecutive singles to load the bases, two of which did not leave the infield. Alberto hit the first pitch he saw from Blue Rocks starter Luis Santos for a grand slam into the Budweiser Thirst Inning Deck in left field. The Birds led 5-2 after the fifth inning.

Alberto’s grand slam was his second home run of the season. It was the first grand slam of his career and the third hit by the team this year, all at home.

The Pelicans knocked in two more runs in the bottom of the seventh on Preston Beck’s two-run single and another run in the bottom of the eighth on a Kevin Torres RBI single.

Bell (1-0) earned the win. Santos (0-1) took the loss.

The Birds play the second game of a three-game series against the Blue Rocks on Friday night.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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