Pelicans opening series breaks attendance record

Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans started strong out of the 2010 gate with three wins in their first four games, and record-breaking crowds were there to take it all in at BB&T Coastal Field.

The Pelicans announced Monday that the 16,215 fans who witnessed the team's four-game series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks are the most ever to attend a season-opening four-game set in Myrtle Beach.

The season burst from the starting line with a sellout crowd for Opening Day on April 8, and the Pelicans treated the 6,366 fans in attendance to a thrilling 4-1 victory over the Blue Rocks behind a brilliant pitching performance by starter Randall Delgado and four bullpen arms. Delgado surrendered a single run in the top of the first before he and the 'pen shut the door the rest of the way.

Opening Day was the first Thirsty Thursday of the 2010 season as well as the first giveaway night of the year as the Pelicans presented the first 5,000 fans in attendance with 2010 team schedule magnets presented by New Era.  The first fireworks show of the new campaign followed the Birds' Opening Day win.

As the weekend dawned, the giveaways continued with the season's initial Free Stuff Friday and another Pelicans victory.  The first 1,000 fans in attendance received Pelicans drawstring bags, and the on-field fireworks waited until the bottom of the ninth in game two.

Third baseman Shayne Moody crushed a two-run walk-off homer over the left field Budweiser Thirst Inning Deck seats to send the Pelicans to a 10-9 victory and send the 3,863 spectators into jubilation.

One night later, the Pelicans emerged victorious again to match their longest winning streak of 2009 at three games.  A boisterous 2,749 Myrtle Beach supporters arrived at the ballpark to greet wrestling legend Sgt. Slaughter on the season's first Show Time Saturday.  The four-time heavyweight champion signed autographs, posed for pictures with fans, and spurred the Pelicans offense to victory with a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the seventh inning stretch.

A late game-tying double by Gerry Rodriguez was followed by a Gerardo Avila RBI single to score Rodriguez and lift the Pelicans to a 6-4 win.

The first day game of the 2010 season dropped anchor on the Grand Strand for two hours and 52 minutes of blue sky-clad baseball on Sunday.  Though the Pelicans dropped their first contest of the new year by an 8-3 score, 3,237 patrons soaked in the low 70s temperatures on the campaign's first Family Sunday.  Dozens of fans, many of them kids clad in little league uniforms, played catch on the outfield grass prior to the afternoon's contest.

In all, a grand total of 16,215 fans passed through the BB&T Coastal Field gates for the first four-game series of 2010.  Last year, the Pelicans welcomed 15,079 to their season-opening four-game set against Wilmington including a ballpark record-tying 6,599 on Opening Day.  It was the start of a season that saw the Pelicans break multiple series and homestand attendance records and set the second-highest single season attendance mark in club history with 238,287 fans attending games in 2009.

The Pelicans hit the road for their first away swing of the 2010 season with a three-game series at Frederick beginning Tuesday followed by three against the Salem Red Sox from Friday through Sunday.

Lefty Jose Ortegano will make his first start of 2010 in Tuesday's series opener against right-hander Oliver Drake for the Keys.