From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – A tense afternoon pitchers' duel turned to a rout and an easier-breathing Pelicans win on one swing of Matt Kennelly's bat Tuesday afternoon in Woodbridge, VA.
Kennelly crushed the first grand slam of his career over the Pfitzner Stadium left field wall to turn a tenuous 3-1 Myrtle Beach lead into a 7-1 cushion as the Pelicans grabbed an eventual 9-1 victory in the second game of their four-game road series with the Potomac Nationals.
Pelicans starter Randall Delgado was his usual even-keeled, effective self in his sixth start of the season. The Birds got him a run of support when Kennelly singled and later scored on an RBI base knock by recently promoted third baseman Samuel Sime in the second inning.
In the third, Cole Miles doubled to lead off and scored on Yoel Campusano's single one batter later to put the Pelicans in front 2-0. Delgado allowed baserunners in the first three innings, but Potomac could only touch home against him in the last of those three by cashing in a one-out Will Ortiz double on an RBI single by Michael Burgess to cut the Pelicans lead to 2-1.
The Birds responded in the third, getting the run back on Sime's second RBI single again scoring Kennelly. It would be more than enough for Delgado (1-2). In his sixth outing, the right-hander was as steady Pelicans fans are becoming accustomed to, tossing six frames of one-run ball and equaling his season high with seven strikeouts. Delgado walked one and didn't allow a baserunner after the third, facing the minimum in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. The Pelicans touched Potomac starter Evan Bronson (1-2) for three runs, two earned, on nine hits over his five and a third.
Myrtle Beach blew things open with an ominous start to its seventh-inning rally. With two Pelicans quickly retired by P-Nats reliever Jesse Estrada, designated hitter Jesus Sucre reached on an error charged to Potomac third baseman Robby Jacobsen, his second of the day. Behind Sucre, Gerry Rodriguez singled, and Calvin Culver walked, setting the stage for Kennelly who torched Estrada's first offering over the left field wall for the first grand slam of his professional baseball life and the second of the Pelicans' 2010 season. The blow gave Myrtle Beach a 7-1 lead.
In his native Australia, Kennelly might have been referred to as the "Man of the Match" for his Tuesday performance. The Perth resident finished the day 3-for-4 with two singles, the grand slam, three runs scored and five batted in. Kennelly even swiped his second career stolen base to put himself in scoring position following his leadoff single in the fourth. In the ninth, he plated another run, his fifth RBI of the game and the Pelicans' eighth, on a sacrifice fly to right.
Chris Shehan busted out of an 0-for-16 slump with a 2-for-5 day, driving home a run with an RBI single in the ninth to give the Pelicans their final 9-1 margin.
Game three of this four-game series is slated for tomorrow night at 7:03 p.m. at Pfitzner Stadium. Southpaw Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 5.06), who picked up a win in his Pelicans debut last week, will oppose Potomac's Marcos Frias (0-1, 6.10).
The Pelicans return to Myrtle Beach following this seven-game road trip with seven at home starting Monday, May 10 against the Kinston Indians. 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.