Welty, Keys outslug Pelicans in open

Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Through the first four games of the 2010 season, the Frederick Keys had shown a love for scoring late. In their series opener of three with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, they decided to wake up the bats early.

Frederick pounded out eight hits and cashed them in for nine runs from the second through fourth innings, and a combination of four effective pitchers kept the Pelicans at arm's length in a 9-4 Keys win at Harry Grove Stadium.

The bottom of the second inning saw the Birds betrayed by a gray sky that had spit a drizzle of rain the majority of the day in the Frederick area. After two outs, Billy Rowell reached on a single, and one batter later, Pelicans second baseman Yoel Campusano lost Greg Miclat's infield popup in the gruel-colored twilight sky. The ball kicked off Pelicans first baseman Gerardo Avila's glove, and both runners were safe. Myrtle Beach appeared to be out of the jam when starter Jose Ortegano induced a Bobby Stevens fly ball to center field, but outfielder Jahdiel Santamaria also couldn't find the ball in flight, and it fell behind him to plate the baserunning pair. The unfortunate miscue, though not an error, ended Ortegano's day. The southpaw, who departed after hitting his pitch count, gave way to lefty Matt Crim (0-1) with two gone in the second.

An inning later, the Keys broke out the longball on Crim and the Pelicans. After Joe Mahoney drove home Xavier Henry with a double, Ronnie Welty kicked off a huge night with a two-run homer to put Frederick on top 5-0. Then in the third, Welty did it again, this time hammering a homer of the three-run variety with a run already home in the inning to give the Keys a commanding 9-0 cushion. Prior to Tuesday night, the Keys had scored 13 of their total 17 runs this season in the eighth inning of games. Welty added a leadoff double in the seventh to complete his 3-for-4 night with five runs driven in. Crim departed after four and a third innings charged with seven runs (four earned) on eight hits.

The Pelicans tried to claw back in the top of the fifth, not missing out on cashing in Chris Shehan's leadoff walk. With two gone, Yoel Campusano drove his second home run of the season out to left field, and after a Miclat error kept the door open, Adam Milligan crushed his second of the campaign to right to cut the Keys margin to 9-4. It would be all for the Birds.

Frederick starter Oliver Drake departed with an apparent injury after two and two-thirds, but Brett Jacobson (1-0), Raul Rivero, and John Mariotti combined to hold the Frederick line. Jacobson was charged with all four Pelicans runs in the fifth, two earned, striking out three and walking one in his first win of the season.

The Pelicans and Keys hook up for game two of their three-game series Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Opening Day starter Randall Delgado (0-0, 1.80) looks for his second consecutive solid outing for Myrtle Beach opposing southpaw Rick Zagone (0-1, 2.25) for the Keys.

The Pelicans return to Myrtle Beach on Monday, April 19 to host the Winston-Salem Dash for four games at BB&T Coastal Field. The series opener is the first Kids Eat Free Monday of 2010. All kids ages 12 and under will receive a free hot dog, chips, and soda with their game ticket. Single game and season tickets, flex books, and mini-plans, are available now through the Pelicans Box Office by calling (843) 918-6000 or (877) 918-TIXX or by visiting the Tickets page at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.