Pugliese delivers in debut; fan nearly delivers at park

Pel-puglieseJames Pugliese went five scoreless innings in his first start since 2013, and David Bote and Ian Rice both hit two-run homers in the Pelicans’ ninth shutout of the year, a 9-0 smashing of the Wilmington Blue Rocks Saturday in front of 4,303 fans at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

During the middle of the Pelicans’ victory, a fan began to go into labor before being transferred to Conway Medical Center. A baby girl, Allie, was expected to be born soon after.

Pugliese (3-4) struck out four and did not walk a batter while holding Wilmington (35-63, 8-21) scoreless on five hits. The right-hander was making a spot start for Myrtle Beach (51-48, 15-14), his first since August 31, 2013. Pugliese made 86 relief appearances in between his starts.

The Pelicans got the offense going early when Charcer Burks led off the bottom of the first with a walk, extending his on-base streak to 23 games. Two batters later, Gleyber Torres singled up the middle to plate Burks and make the score 1-0. After a fielder’s choice, Bote worked an 11-pitch at-bat before launching a homer over the left field bleachers to give the Birds a 3-0 advantage.

Still up by three in the bottom of the fourth, Wilmington reliever Luis Rico retired the first two batters before Rashad Crawford beat out an infield single. After Torres was hit by a pitch, Yasiel Balaguert smoked a two-run double to the gap to extend the Myrtle Beach lead to 5-0. Two Blue Rocks errors on the same play brought in Balaguert to make it 6-0. Rice followed and homered to deep left-center to give Myrtle Beach a commanding 8-0 advantage.

Still leading 8-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Torres and Balaguert both singled to put runners at first and second. After they both advanced on a groundout, Rice drove home Torres on a sacrifice fly to center to cap the scoring at 9-0 Pelicans.

Craig Brooks worked a scoreless sixth before Daniel Lewis retired all six batters he saw in the seventh and eighth. Pedro Araujo topped off the Birds’ ninth shutout by working a scoreless final inning. The Birds’ nine blankings rank second in the Carolina League.

Myrtle Beach and Wilmington will be back in action Sunday at 6:05 p.m., as the Pelicans look to take the series.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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