Rucker tosses another gem as Pelicans split double dip

Mike Rucker dominated in the finale of Monday’s de facto doubleheader, as he struck out a career-high ten batters over eight shutout innings in Myrtle Beach’s 11-inning 2-0 victory over the Buies Creek Astros, which followed the Pelicans’ 5-4 loss in the completion of Sunday’s suspended game from Jim Perry Stadium.

Rucker set a career-high in strikeouts for the Pelicans (52-41, 9-14) by whiffing 10 batters over a career-best eight shutout innings. James Norwood followed Rucker with four more strikeouts over two shutout frames. Dakota Mekkes picked up his second save by striking out the side in the bottom of the 11th. The Birds matched a season-high with 17 strikeouts as a team.

The game was scoreless going to the 11th when Myrtle Beach finally broke through against Astros (54-41, 17-8) lefty Sebastian Kessay (6-3). Zack Short led off the frame with a walk before he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from P.J. Higgins . With two outs in the frame, Short advanced to third before Martinez drew a walk to put runners on the corners for Myrtle Beach. Jesse Hodges delivered with a two-out RBI hit for the Pelicans, as he laced a base hit to right field to score Short and give the Birds the 1-0 lead. Tyler Alamo continued the rally as he drove in Eddy Martinez with a base hit to extend the Birds’ lead to 2-0.

Ryan Hartman was the starting for Buies Creek, and the southpaw twirled seven shutout frames, striking out six Pelicans and yielded just three hits before handing the ball over to the Astros’ bullpen. Sean Stutzman followed Hartman with three shutout innings, helped by whiffing five Birds.

Myrtle Beach kicked off the scoring in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s suspended contest against Buies Creek. Short singled with one out in the frame before advancing to second on a groundout. Hodges delivered with a two-out RBI double to left field to give the Birds the 1-0 advantage.

Jake Rogers reached base in the bottom of the third inning on a fielder’s choice before swiping second with two men retired in the frame. Taylor Jones tied the game for Buies Creek with an RBI single into center field scoring Rodgers from second.

With the score 1-1, rain would suspend play before the top of the fifth inning started, forcing the game to be finished on Monday. Myrtle Beach starter Justin Steele yielded just one run on three hits in four innings of work.

The game resumed on Monday at 5:00 p.m. as Brett Adcock (4-3) took the mound for the Astros and yielded three-runs over five innings of work for Buies Creek.

In the seventh, Buies Creek took their first lead of the game. With one out in the frame, Alex DeGoti reached first base on a bunt single before advancing to second on a single from Myles Straw. Ryne Birk picked up the Astros third straight single of the inning, scoring DeGoti from second and giving the Astros the 2-1 advantage. Rogers and Jones each singled to make it five straight hits for Buies Creek, scoring both Straw and Birk and making the score 4-1.

Short struck out but reached reached first on a wild pitch to begin the top of the eighth inning. With one out in the frame, Hodges reached on an infield single to put two Pelicans on. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Eddy Martinez laced a two-run triple to left-center field. With the score 4-3, Alamo tied the game with a base hit to right field, driving in Martinez from third.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Randy Cesar, DeGoti and Straw recorded back-to-back-to-back walks to load the bases. Birk lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Cesar and put Buies Creek back up at 5-4.

Adcock finished off the Pelicans in the ninth to give Buies Creek the 5-4 victory in game one of the de facto double header.

Myrtle Beach and Buies Creek will play the finale of their three-game set Tuesday at 7.

– Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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