Pelicans drop series opener to Charleston, 9-5 in 7 innings

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MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW) – Fueled by a five-run first inning, the Charleston RiverDogs kept the runs coming in a 9-5 win over the Pelicans on Tuesday night. The win is the third in a row for Charleston who now stands at 22-13, while Myrtle Beach has fallen in back-to-back games, and drops to 17-19 on the season.

The game was called after seven complete innings when rain started coming down to start off the eighth. The Pelicans have not played a full nine-inning game at home since June 2 against Columbia.

Manuel Espinoza started the game for the Pelicans and was under fire from the start, with five runs coming across in the first inning. Espinoza took the loss after 3.2 innings pitched with seven earned runs off seven hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. The seven runs allowed is a new career-high for the right-hander.

For the fifth-straight game, the Pelicans hit a home run this time coming from Ryan Reynolds (1-2, HR, 3 RBI). Reynolds hit his third homer of the season in the fourth inning with a blast that left the stadium in left field. Pablo Aliendo (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI) also contributed with a two-run double in the fifth.

The win was awarded to Jose Lopez in relief, after going 2.1 innings of one-hit baseball with one walk and four strikeouts. Ben Brecht started the game and tossed just under five innings with seven hits allowed, three earned runs, and four strikeouts.

Charleston collected 11 hits for the evening, with all batters but two reaching on a base hit. Curtis Mead (3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI) fell a triple shy of the cycle with a three-hit ballgame. Five other RiverDogs tallied an RBI with Osleivis Basabe (2-4, RBI, R) and Michael Berglund (2-2, RBI) logging multi-hit performances.

Charleston took control from the beginning with a five-run opening frame. Heriberto Hernandez led off the game by getting hit by a pitch, and Mead homered in the next at-bat to quickly put the RiverDogs in front 2-0. After Espinoza picked up the first out, Diego Infante singled and Nick Schnell doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Alexander Ovalles walked to load the bases, and Basabe grounded a ball to Reynolds at third that he tried to flip to second but was too late, and a run scored while Basabe reached on a fielder’s choice. Berglund came up next and flew out to center field that allowed Schnell to tag up and score to make it a 4-0 lead. Espinoza then threw a wild pitch that scores Ovalles and capped off the monster inning for the RiverDogs.

The lead was extended in the second and fourth innings, with a run apiece. Mead and Brett Wisely both singled in the second inning to put runners at the corners with one out. Wisely then stole second and as Hearn threw down, Mead came home to score the sixth run for the RiverDogs. In the fourth inning, it was Hernandez leading off with a single, followed by a double from Mead. Wisely flew out to center field to score Hernandez and the Charleston lead was up to 6-0.

Myrtle Beach got back into the game in their half of the fourth. Matt Mervis and Aliendo both singled with one out to put some pressure on Brecht. After Luis Verdugo grounded out for the second out, Reynolds came up and smoked the first pitch of the at-bat over the seating section in left field for a three-run homer. It was his third of the season and the Pelicans got closer at 7-3.

After the RiverDogs tacked on one more in the top of the fifth on a Hernandez sac fly, the Pelicans got two back in their half. After the Birds loaded the bases, Aliendo came a few feet away from a grand slam as his drive to left field bounced off the wall and brought home two runs to slim the lead down to 8-5.

Abiezel Ramirez laid a bunt down to bring home another insurance run for Charleston in the top of the seventh.

The game would be called after seven innings when rain came pouring down to start off the eighth. Myrtle Beach and Charleston will meet for game two of the series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.

Courtesy – MB Pelicans

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