MYRTLE BEACH – In a meeting of the top two teams in the Carolina League, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 7-3 in the series opener against the Charleston RiverDogs in Myrtle Beach. Both teams are now tied for the top spot in the South Division standings at 19-9. Charleston’s winning streak was extended to five with the win.

Myrtle Beach went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and collected five hits while walking eight times. BJ Murray Jr. (1-3, HR, RBI, BB) provided the power with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. Pete Crow-Armstrong (1-5, RBI) extended his hitting streak to 15-straight games with an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Luke Little (0-1) took the loss after allowing five runs with two being earned in his two innings as the starter. Little walked a pair while striking out four in his second start against the RiverDogs this season. Tyler Santana was the first arm out of the bullpen and gave up two earned runs off two hits in his three innings of work with five strikeouts and four walks. The Pelicans’ defense committed three errors in the first three innings of the game.

Despite striking out 16 times, the RiverDogs turned nine hits into seven runs to win the fifth consecutive game. Mason Auer (3-5, 2 RBI) provided a trio of singles with two runs batted in while also scoring two runs. Shane Sasaki (1-4, RBI, BB) brought home the other RBI for Charleston. All nine of the RiverDogs hits were singles in their win.

Tuesday’s starter Patrick Wicklander (3-1) earned the win with five innings of work and two runs given up with one being earned. He gave up four hits while walking only one and struck out seven in his outing. Jack Snyder took the save with just one hit allowed in his 2 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out three.

Charleston plated runs in the first three innings to take control early. After Little struck out the first two batters in the first, Willy Vasquez grounded to Reginald Preciado at second. His throw knocked off Murray’s glove at first for a missed catch error as Vasquez reached. Bobby Seymour worked a walk and Vasquez scored on a single by Auer into right field to put the RiverDogs in front first.

Another run for the visitors came in the second as Oneill Manzueta led off with a walk. He moved to second on a groundout by Michael Berglund and came in to score on a single by Sasaki with two outs.

The game broke open with a three-run third. Vasquez and Seymour hit back-to-back singles to lead off with Auer coming to the plate. Auer lined a single up the middle to score Vasquez as the ball skipped behind Crow-Armstrong for a fielding error. Seymour came around to score as well as Auer rounded third. Catcher Ethan Hearn threw down to third trying to catch Auer, but the ball went wild down the left-field line as Auer came all the way around to score the third run on a single with two errors.

Charleston tacked on two more for a 7-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Auer singled on a line drive to right field to start the frame. After stealing second, Auer advanced to third on a groundout by Freddvil Chevez. Santana threw his first wild pitch of the inning to Manzueta as Auer came home to score. Manzueta then worked a walk and Berglund flew out for the second out. Jelfry Marte followed with a single and advanced to second to put two runners in scoring position. On a 3-2 pitch to Sasaki in the following at-bat, Santana’s offer went wild for ball four as Manzueta scored for a 7-0 advantage.

The Pelicans led off with a solo home run by Murray to left field on a 1-1 pitch for their first run. Hearn followed with a walk and moved to second on a groundout by Peter Matt. Preciado then reached on a fielding error by shortstop Carson Williams. After Ezequiel Pagan popped up to short, Crow-Armstrong followed with a line-drive single up the middle for an RBI as the Birds trailed 7-2.

Myrtle Beach got one run closer with a sixth-inning that saw three walks and no hits. Kevin Alcantara led off with a walk against new pitcher Sandy Gaston. Murray walked following a Kevin Made strikeout and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. On a 3-2 pitch to Hearn, Gaston threw another wild pitch to walk Hearn as Alcantara came in to close the Charleston lead to 7-3.

The Pelicans would leave the bases loaded in the seventh and two runners were stranded in the ninth to end the rally.

Game two between the Pelicans and RiverDogs is slated for Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.

Courtesy – Myrtle Beach Pelicans