Pelicans rally for runs in last two innings to clip Hillcats

pel-brookspitchThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored a run in the eighth and then added another in the ninth Friday to come from behind and nip the Lynchburg Hillcats 2-1 at Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium.

With the Hillcats (0-2) ahead 1-0, Jesse Hodges began the eighth with a walk against reliever Argenis Angulo. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Daniel Spingola did the same. After a fielder’s choice moved Hodges to third with two outs, Angulo unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Hodges to sprint in to score the game’s tying run.

The Pelicans (2-0) would complete their comeback in the ninth. P.J. Higgins started the ninth with a base hit before Eddy Martinez walked. A passed ball advanced both runners and two batters later, Matt Rose brought in Higgins on an RBI ground out to make it 2-1 Myrtle Beach.

That ended up being all the Birds would need. James Norwood (1-0) surrendered a one-out single to Connor Marabell. However, the right-hander induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the ballgame and preserve Myrtle Beach’s win. Norwood went two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the win.

Starters Thomas Hatch and Thomas Pannone dueled for the first five frames. Pannone didn’t allow a hit and fanned eight in his five frames, retiring the last 14 Pelicans he faced.

In the bottom of the fifth, Yonathan Mendoza reached on an error to begin the frame. The Lynchburg third baseman then stole second before Hatch whiffed both Daniel Salters and Jodd Carter. However, Anthony Miller then deposited the game’s first hit with a liner to right to plate Mendoza and snap the scoreless tie.

Hatch allowed that lone unearned run on one hit in five innings for his professional debut. He issued three passes and struck out two.

Craig Brooks pitched two scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh to help set up the Birds’ rally late.

Myrtle Beach will aim to at least earn a series win in the four-game set with Saturday’s 6 p.m. first pitch.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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