Pelicans sweep Blue Rocks for first CL title in 15 years

pel-champsIn a tie game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Pin-Chieh Chen tapped a walk-off single into left field to give the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, a 3-2 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Wednesday night.

The win gave the Birds their first Carolina League Championship since they won the Mills Cup in 2000.

With Myrtle Beach leading 2-1 into the top of the ninth inning, Wilmington (62-77, 2-3 postseason) tied the game when pinch hitter Mike Hill singled on a ground ball to center field.

However the Pelicans rallied back with a run in the bottom of the frame for the win. Mark Zagunis led off with a soft single back to pitcher Luis Rico. After a walk to Jason Vosler, a sacrifice bunt, and a fly out, Rico intentionally walked Chesny Young to load the bases. With two outs, Chen tapped a ground ball that deflected off of the glove of third baseman Mauricio Ramos and into left field for the game-winning base hit.

The Pelicans (81-57, 5-1 postseason) took the initial lead in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of catcher Victor Caratini. In the second inning, the Birds expanded their lead when Gleyber Torres walked, stole second, and Daniel Lockhart ripped an RBI double down the right-field line to give Myrtle Beach a 2-0 lead.

Wilmington responded in the third with a run to cut the lead in half. Designated hitter Carlos Garcia smashed a one-out double to right field, and a fielding error at second base put runners on the corners. Third baseman Mauricio Ramos came through with an RBI single to right field, scoring Garcia, and trimming the Birds’ lead to 2-1. The score stayed that way until the ninth.

Pelicans starter Duane Underwood Jr. settled in and struck out the next five batters he faced into the fourth inning. Underwood finished with no decision, firing six innings and allowing one run, earned, on five hits. He did not walk a man while striking out seven batters.

Right-handed reliever David Garner took over for the seventh and surrendered back-to-back one-out walks but worked out of the jam with a fly out and a strikeout. Garner continued in the eighth inning and struck out the side. He finished with two innings of work in the book, walking two and fanning four.

Sidewinding right-hander David Berg came on for the ninth and surrendered the tying run.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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