MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW) – In front of a crowd of 6,500 strong, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans nearly pulled off a late comeback but fell short 2-1 against the Down East Wood Ducks in Tuesday’s series opener. The low-scoring affair dropped Myrtle Beach’s record to 21-27, while Down East improved to 28-20. The 6,599 fans topped the previous season-high by over 1,300 on Tuesday night.
The Birds’ lineup only tallied four hits for the evening, with Yohendrick Pinango (2-4, 2B) being the only Pelican with multiple hits. Jonathan Sierra (1-3, 2B, RBI) drove in the only run for Myrtle Beach with a double in the fifth inning.
On the mound, the home team received some solid outings from Didier Vargas and Jarod Wright. Vargas started his third game and tossed five innings with just one run allowed off seven hits, while also striking out five, all looking. Jarod Wright was the final pitcher and spun two innings of hitless baseball with four strikeouts. The loss went to Jose Almonte (0-1) who threw two innings in relief with two hits allowed and one earned run.
While stranding eight on base the Wood Ducks came together for nine hits but just two runs to show for it. Crisitan Inoa (2-4, 2B) picked up two doubled while Luisangel Acuna (2-4, RBI) and Dustin Harris (1-3, RBI) brought in the runs.
The win went to Florencio Serrano (1-0) after tossing just over two innings in relief with no runs allowed. Jesus Linarez pitched the final inning and earned the save after holding the Pelicans without the tying run.
It was a slow start to the game as both starters moved through the lineup. Vargas would finish with a season-high five strikeouts, while Gavin Collyer ended the night with a career-high six strikeouts for the Wood Ducks.
Down East got on top first with a run in the third inning. Keithron Moss looped a ball to left field that he stretched into a double to lead off the inning. After a sac bunt from Jayce Easley moved Moss to third, Acuna hit a chopper to third for an infield single to bring Moss home and give Down East a 1-0 lead.
The Pelicans evened the game in the fifth off a clutch two-out hit from Jonathan Sierra. Jacob Wetzel worked a walk with one out to get on base. Following a Jordan Nwogu for the second out, Sierra roped a ground ball down the right-field line for an RBI double as Wetzel came home to score and tie the game at one. Sierra was left on second after Luis Verdugo flew out to right.\
The Wood Ducks threatened to take the lead back in the sixth as Keyber Rodriguez singled to start. He advanced to second on a wild pitch from Almonte and moved to third after Alejandro Osuna flew out to left. Inoa came up and hit a ground ball to short that was picked up by Ed Howard as Rodriguez raced home. Howard threw toward the plate and Birds’ catcher Pablo Aliendo landed the tag to throw Rodriguez out and keep the game tied.
The lead would change the following inning as Easley singled to start the inning off. During the next two at-bats, Easley would swipe second and third on stolen bases to bring the go-ahead run 90 feet away. This allowed Harris to bring Easley home on a sacrifice fly to Nwogu in left and the Wood Ducks went back up 2-1.
The Pelicans brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning and attempted to pull off the comeback. Matt Mervis worked a walk to get on base with one out and was replaced by Ryan Reynolds. As Aliendo grounded out, Reynolds moved to second with Wetzel coming up representing the winning run. On a 1-0 pitch, Wetzel drove a ball to deep center field as Easley moved back and tracked it down just before the warning track to end the game.
The Pelicans and Wood Ducks will return to Pelicans Ballpark for game two on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.
Courtesy – MB Pelicans