Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Heading to the late innings with a lead for the fourth time this week, you can't blame Pelicans fans for being a little uneasy as they held on to a precarious advantage.
The first three late leads had produced just one victory for the Pelicans, but Juan Abreu was able to walk the tightrope, inducing a Billy Rowell lineout to end the game and give the Pelicans a win in the opener of the three game series with the Frederick Keys, 5-4.
The Birds led this one wire to wire plating single runs in each of the first three innings in support of lefty Brett Oberholtzer (1-0) making his Carolina League debut. Oberholtzer mixed a good changeup and sharp slider with two different fastballs to keep Keys hitters off balance in his 5 1/3 innings on the hill. Showing no signs of nervousness in his first start in the league, Oberholtzer struck out four without walking a batter.
The scoring started in the first as Jesus Sucre yanked a two-out double down the left field line to score Gerry Rodriguez with the game's first run. The Pelicans would plate another in the second with another two-out knock, this one off the bat of Cole Miles. In the third, Yoel Campusano's third home run of the season into the Budweiser Thirst Inning Deck gave the Pelicans yet another run off Keys starter Rick Zagone (0-2) to push the lead to 3-0.
The Keys scored two in the sixth to chase Oberholtzer from the ballgame, but Chad Rodgers came out of the bullpen to form a sturdy bridge to Juan Abreu by tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Birds picked up their fifth and final run in the bottom of the sixth on a suicide squeeze play as Amadeo Zazueta laid down a beautiful bunt single with Matt Kennelly on third base to push the lead to 5-3, that run becoming essential when Joe Mahoney laced a two-out double to right to score Kyle Hudson in the ninth inning off Abreu. With the lead now standing at one run and the go-ahead runs on the basepaths, Abreu blew a pair of 97 mph fastballs past Rowell before inducing the lineout to end the ballgame.
Gerardo Avila went 3-for-4 in the ballgame to pick up his third multi-hit game in as many contests, and the slugging first baseman now has eight hits in his last eleven at bats.
The Pelicans go for the series win tomorrow night from BB&T Coastal Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET. It will be Superhero Night at the ballpark with an appearance by Marvel's Iron Man in anticipation of the release of Iron Man 2 on May 7.