CL champ Pelicans pick up where they left off in debut

pel-20slideBehind five strong innings from Jonathan Martinez, the defending Carolina League champion Myrtle Beach Pelicans knocked off the Frederick Keys 5-2 Thursday to begin the 2016 regular season at TicketReturn.com Field.

Martinez (1-0) picked up where he left off in 2015, earning the win with five innings of one-run ball, allowing only three hits. Martinez led the Carolina League in ERA last season, helping Myrtle Beach (1-0) to victory in 16 of his last 19 stars.

The Birds got the scoring going in the second inning. After Jason Vosler walked, Jeffrey Baez doubled to deep left to move Vosler to third. Gioskar Amaya followed with a hard-hit single to left to put the Pelicans in front 1-0. Baez would score two batters later on a fielding error by Keys (0-1) shortstop Erick Salcedo.

Myrtle Beach tacked on another run in the third on an RBI infield single from Yasiel Balaguert.

Down 3-0, Frederick finally got to Martinez in the fifth. After a Tad Gold single, Jay Gonzalez ripped a triple into the right field corner to cut the deficit to 3-1.

But that would be as close as the Keys would get. Rashad Crawford delivered a one-out single off Frederick starter Mitch Horacek (0-1) in the bottom of the fifth. Gleyber Torres followed with an opposite-field double to right center. Crawford beat the relay throw on a close play at the plate, allowing Torres to take third base. After a pitch trickled behind Frederick catcher Jonah Heim, Torres raced home for the second run of the inning, giving Myrtle Beach a 5-1 advantage.

The Birds bullpen handled the rest. Daury Torrez, James Pugliese and David Berg combined for four innings of one-run baseball to earn the Pelicans their first win of 2016. Berg struck out two to earn the save.

The Pelicans and Keys will meet again at 7:05pm on Friday.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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