Pelicans rally past Keys, drop magic number to 3

pel-fleteswingMyrtle Beach picked up their third straight win after rallying late behind a two-run double from Bryant Flete, as the Birds took down the Frederick Keys by a final of 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of their three-game set from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

With Myrtle Beach (38-26) trailing Frederick (29-34) 4-3 in the seventh inning, the Pelicans rallied back. Tyler Alamo kicked off the frame with a base knock to left field before advancing to second on a single from Daniel Spingola. Robert Garcia laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position.

Frederick would replace their starting pitcher Brian Gonzalez (2-4) with left-hander Reid Love to face Flete. The Birds’ second baseman greeted Love to the game with a two-run double down the right field line to give Myrtle Beach the 5-4 advantage.

Scott Effross (3-1), James Norwood and Jordan Minch  teamed up to toss four scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Birds. Effross relieved Kellogg in the sixth inning and fired 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball to pick up his third win of the season. Jordan Minch entered the contest with one out in the ninth inning to pick up his first save since June 7, 2016.

With Myrtle Beach’s victory and losses from both Buies Creek and Carolina, the Pelicans magic number to clinch the Southern Division in the first half is now just three. Buies Creek is 4.0 games out while Carolina is 4.5 back of the Pelicans with six contests to play in the first half of the season.

With one out in the first inning, P.J. Higgins singled to left field. Spingola followed Higgins with a base knock to center field. Three straight Pelicans reached in the first inning as Eloy Jimenez walked to load the bases. Eddy Martinez reached on a fielder’s choice after Higgins was forced out at home. With two outs in the frame, Jesse Hodges blasted a two-run double off the left field wall to giving the Pelicans the 2-0 advantage. Jimenez would score the third run of the contest on a wild pitch.

Austin Hayes led off the third inning for the Keys with a solo home run to left field. Hayes’ home run was the sluggers 13th home run of the season.

With one out in the fourth, Steve Laurino blasted the Keys’ second solo home run of the night to cut the Pelicans lead to just one run.

Frederick would take their first lead of the contest in the fifth. Austin Hayes and Ryan Mountcastle kicked off the frame with back-to-back base hits. A double play erased Mountcastle from the base paths and allowed Hayes to advance to third. Ademar Rifaela singled to right field to bring in Hayes and tie the score at three. Alex Murphy followed Rifaela with a base hit. On the play, Rifaela would advance to third while Murphy took second on an error. Shane Hoelscher notched the third consecutive base hit for the Keys, bringing in Rifaela to give Frederick the 4-3 advantage.

Myrtle Beach and Frederick will square off in game two of their three-game set in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. contest.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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