Wolff scores league-leading seventh win as Pelicans roll

pel-wolffThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans took the second game of the three-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-2 on Friday night at Pelicans Ballpark.

Sam Wolff pitched five scoreless innings and picked up his Carolina League-leading seventh win. Nick Vickerson homered in his return from the disabled list.

The Pelicans (2-0, 46-24) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Jorge Alfaro led off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Vickerson crushed a 3-2 pitch from Blue Rocks starter Sean Manaea over the Budweiser Thirst Inning Deck in left, putting the Pelicans ahead 2-0.

Friday marked Vickerson’s first game since June 9. The home run was his first as a Pelican. Vickerson played five innings, and was replaced by Luis Mendez in the sixth as a defensive replacement.

The Blue Rocks (0-2, 33-37) threatened to score in top of the fourth. With one out, Cam Gallagher walked and later stole second. Two batters later, Daniel Rockett hit a single to shallow center field. Chris Garia threw out Gallagher trying to score on the play, and the score remained 2-0.

Wilmington got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Bubba Starling led off the frame with a single off of Pelicans reliever Justin Sprenger. After Sprenger struck out the next two batters, Gallagher singled to left field. Starling advanced to third on the single, and Gallagher advanced to second on the throw from the outfield. In an attempt to throw out Gallagher, Mendez threw to second, but the ball deflected off of Christopher Bostick’s glove and into center field, allowing Starling to score. The run was unearned, and the score was 2-1.

The Birds answered in the bottom half of the inning. Garia led off with a walk. With Hanser Alberto batting, Garia stole second base. Alberto collected a bunt single, putting runners at the corners for Preston Beck. Beck scored Garia with a sacrifice fly to left off of Blue Rocks reliever Yender Caramo.

The Blue Rocks scored their second run, also unearned, in the top of the eighth inning. Starling led off with a double. With one out, Zane Evans hit a ground ball to third base, but a throwing error by Mendez allowed Starling to score on the play and Evans to advance to second.

With the score 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth and two outs in the inning, Alberto launched a home run that cleared the left field deck. The Birds led 4-2.

Alberto’s home run on Friday night was his third home run of the season and his second in the last two games.

Alexander Claudio came to the mound to close it out for Myrtle Beach in the top of the ninth. After Kenny Diekroeger singled to start the inning, Claudio retired the next three batters, including two on strikeouts.

Wolff (7-3) earned the win. Manaea (2-6) took the loss. Claudio (3) picked up the save.

The Birds look to sweep the three-game series against the Blue Rocks on Saturday night.

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