MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW) – Every player in the starting lineup for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans reached base safely with all but one recording a hit in a 10-3 blowout of the Columbia Fireflies on Wednesday night. The win evens the series at one game apiece, with the Pelicans moving to 27-34 on the season. The Fireflies dropped to 30-28 with the loss. Wednesday night marked the halfway point of the season for Myrtle Beach with their 61st game.
The Pelicans lineup came alive for a season-high 15 hits with 10 runs scored. Ed Howard (3-5, HR, 2 RBI) hit his second home run of the season and his first at Pelicans Ballpark. Matt Mervis (3-5, HR, 2 RBI) smashed his sixth home run of the season to right field for a two-run home run in the fourth. Ethan Hearn (2-4, 2B, RBI) also posted a solid game with an RBI double in the third inning.
The pitching staff held it down with Manuel Espinoza (4-5) picking up his fourth win of the season. Espinoza tossed a season-high six innings with three earned runs off six hits. Jake Reindl and Danis Correa would close out the final three innings with just one hit allowed.
Three runs came off two home runs by the Fireflies in the loss. Juan Carlos Negret (1-2, HR, RBI) hit his league-leading 15th home run of the season in the second inning off Espinoza, and Gage Hughes (1-3, HR, 2 RBI) belted a two-run homer in the fifth. Herard Gonzalez (3-4) tallied three singles in the ballgame.
Anderson Paulino (4-3) started the game and gave up a career-high 11 hits and nine earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work. He also gave up the two home runs to Howard and Mervis. Luis De Avila and Chase Wallace pitched the final 4 2/3 innings with just one unearned run coming across.
Negret homered to lead off the second inning to give the Fireflies a quick 1-0 lead.
The Pelicans would explode for nine runs spread out over the next three innings to take command. Jordan Nwogu singled to lead off the Birds’ half of the second and advanced to second base on a pickoff attempt that went wide. The next two batters were retired, and Fabian Pertuz came up and singled to right field to bring in Nwogu and tie the game at one. With Pertuz on base, Howard shot the first pitch of the at-bat over the left-field wall for a two-run homer that put Myrtle Beach on top 3-1.
In the bottom of the third, Mervis hit an infield single back up the middle with one out. Jonathan Sierra followed by being hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Nwogu grounded into a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat where Sierra was out at second. With runners on the corners, Hearn hit a line drive to left field for a double that scored Mervis and moved Nwogu to third. Both runners scored as Matt Warkentin grounded a single to left field and the Pelicans had a 6-1 lead after three innings.
Howard gathered his second hit of the game to lead off the fourth on an infield single back up to the pitcher. He stole second in the next at-bat, and after Kevin Made struck out, Howard scored on a single to left field by Jacob Wetzel. Mervis followed with a no-doubt home run to right field for his team-leading sixth of the season and Myrtle Beach had a 9-1 lead.
Columbia added two more with a two-run home run from Gage Hughes in the top of the fifth to right field for his second of the season.
Myrtle Beach capped it off in the eighth with Pertuz and Howard both hitting singled to start it off. Pertuz got to third when Made grounded into a double play and scored after Gonzalez misplayed a ground ball to second base from Wetzel.
The Pelicans and Fireflies will meet for game three on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.
Courtesy – Myrtle Beach Pelicans