Pelicans drop heartbreaker in series finale

Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Even when it seems like the Pelicans have a game in hand, you can bet dimes on the dollar that it's going to take an outstanding effort from everyone involved to walk away with a victory.

On a night where the team provided outstanding starting pitching with a little bit of a luck, the Pelicans still could not pull out an extra-inning victory over the Potomac Nationals from BB&T Coastal Field, dropping the rubber match by the score of 5-4.

Randall Delgado got the nod on the hill for the Pelicans, continuing his phenomenal start to the season, tossing six innings while striking out a season-high seven.  His only blemish on the evening was a two-run first-inning home run to Michael Burgess that just managed to sneak over the 308 sign down the left field line to give the P-Nats an early 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately for Delgado, as has been the case all season, he was saddled with the no-decision.

The Pelicans responded immediately in the bottom of the first inning as Gerardo Avila launched a two-run shot of his own into the left field stands, knotting the game at two apiece.  For Avila, it was his second home run in as many nights and the slugging first baseman finished the night 2-for-3 with a pair of walks.

Evan Bronson held the Pelicans in check after Avila's home run as the teams would trade zeroes on the scoreboard until the bottom of the eighth inning.  In that wild frame, P-Nats pitcher Robinson Fabian hit Gerry Rodriguez with a one-out fastball.  With Avila at the plate, Fabian uncorked a wild pitch that catcher Ty Weeden took his time retrieving.  Running with his head on a swivel, Rodriguez took two bases on the play, sliding into third just ahead of the tag by Tim Pahuta.  After an intentional walk to Avila, Jesus Sucre hit a comebacker that kicked off the glove of Fabian, scoring Rodriguez and giving the Pelicans at 3-2 lead heading into the ninth without recording a base hit.

Reliever Jaye Chapman came in to close it out in the ninth but ran into control problems of his own, walking a pair of hitters and tossing two wild pitches to allow the P-Nats to regain the lead 5-4.

In the bottom of the ninth, Shayne Moody led off the frame with a fly ball that Chris Curran inexplicably dropped, reaching third base with two outs.  Cole Miles then rapped a pitch off Dan Leatherman into left field to score Moody with the game-tying run to send the game to extras.

In bonus baseball, third baseman-turned-reliever Van Pope (0-1) came on to pitch the tenth but two walks and a hit batter later, the bases were loaded.  With one out, Dan Nelson hit a bouncing ground ball up the middle that was hit too slowly to turn the double play, allowing the go-ahead run to score.  Dan Leatherman (1-0) would finish off the Pelicans in the bottom half to give the series to the visitors from Potomac.

Friday night begins a three-game set from BB&T Coastal Field with the Frederick Keys with first pitch in tomorrow's game starting at 7:05 ET.  It will be Free Stuff Friday at the ballpark as the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Pelicans Travel Mug. 

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