Pelicans sweep Rocks for first place, landmark win

pel-balaguertThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans rallied for six runs in the bottom of the third to take over first place in the Carolina League Southern Division standings and help manager Buddy Bailey pick up his 1,900th career win in a 6-4 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks Sunday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Down 4-0 entering the bottom of the third, Jesse Hodges walked before Andrew Ely singled him to second with one out. After a David Bote walk, Yasiel Balaguert cleared the bases with a two-run double to left-center to cut the deficit to 4-3. Ian Rice followed with a walk before Jeffrey Baez singled to load the bases again. Daniel Spingola then flew out to left, allowing Balaguert to score and tie the game at four. With runners at second and third, Tyler Pearson dropped a single into right to plate both runners and give Myrtle Beach (52-48, 16-14) a 6-4 lead.

Blue Rocks (35-64, 8-22) starter Foster Griffin (2-7) lasted only three innings, giving up all six runs and five hits in the third inning.

Pelicans starter Jonathan Martinez (8-5) went 5.1 frames, surrendering four runs, three earned, on eight hits while punching out four.

Birds reliever Tommy Nance tossed 2.2 perfect innings before Ryan McNeil earned his league-leading 15th save with a scoreless ninth.

Wilmington got on the board first against Martinez. After Carlos Diaz reached on an error, Anderson Miller singled him to third. Samir Duenez then walked in front of Brandon Downes, who singled to right to score two runs. Elier Hernandez followed with a fielder’s choice that allowed Duenez to score from third and give the Blue Rocks a 3-0 lead. After another hit, Martinez got out of further trouble by inducing a double play.

With the Rocks still up 3-0 in the top of the third, Duenez tripled to right before Downes knocked him in with a base hit to make the score 4-0.

The triumph vaulted Myrtle Beach back into first place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division.

The Pelicans will stay home to start a new three-game series with the Carolina Mudcats on Monday at 7:05 p.m.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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