Pelicans bounce back, earn split in Winston

Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans:

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – With the leftover sleep from a 20-inning game the night before still presumably fresh in their eyes, the Pelicans showed a newfound sense of resiliency in Thursday night's series finale of four with the Winston-Salem Dash at BB&T Ballpark.

Southpaw starter Brett Oberholtzer pitched six strong frames in a gutsy effort in which he was hit in the back by a first-inning line drive, and the Pelicans got all the offense they needed in the fifth inning of a 3-1 victory over the Dash to secure a series split.

Winston-Salem took its first lead Thursday night in the same fashion it did in Wednesday's marathon.  A solo home run from Justin Greene put the Dash on top 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

The Pelicans, however, took over with a fifth inning marked by productive outs and defensive miscues.  Trailing 1-0, Ryan Barba and Cole Miles reached on an error and a single to open the frame.

With the pair aboard, Mike Daniel did the same to right field, but Winston-Salem's Brandon Short hosed Barba at the plate as the Pelicans shortstop tried to score from second base.  On the throw, Miles and Daniel went to third and second base, respectively.

With one out, Luis Sumoza smacked a ground ball to third base to score Miles, and Sumoza reached at first on a throwing error charged to Winston-Salem third baseman, and former Braves farmhand, Jon Gilmore.

With one gone and runners at the corners, Gerry Rodriguez grounded out to third base, but while Gilmore's successful throw reached first to retire the Pelicans first baseman, Daniel scored from third.  Then, it was Sumoza's turn to run

Standing at second base, the 21-year-old flew around third base to score on Calvin Culver's two-out single for Myrtle Beach's third run and a 3-1 lead.

In his last three starts, Oberholtzer (2-3) had gotten exactly zero runs of offensive support, but the Birds wouldn't leave their left-hander behind on this night.  The Saint Georges, Delaware native took a Jon Gilmore line drive off of his back in the bottom of the first inning but stayed in the game, later departing after six innings of one-run ball, having allowed six hits but no walks to counter his season-high six strikeouts in his best start of the year.

The Dash's best offensive opportunity came in the bottom of the seventh inning.  After two flyouts by Ozzie Lewis and Jason Bour to lead off the inning, Pelicans reliever Van Pope lost his command and walked Kyle Shelton and Zach Kayne before going to a 2-0 count against Justin Greene.  That's when Rocket Wheeler emerged from the bullpen and summoned Benino Pruneda who put three of his four pitches past Greene to record the inning's final out and keep the lead intact.

Winston-Salem right-hander Nevin Griffith (4-1) actually lasted longer than Oberholtzer, pitching through the seventh, but he surrendered three runs—though none earned—on six hits in his first loss of the season.  Pruneda (S, 2) picked up his second save of the year, snapping a string of three straight unconverted save opportunities for the right-hander.  The Pelicans pitching staff held the most potent offense in professional affiliated baseball in 2010 to seven combined runs over the course of the four-game set.

With the split, the Pelicans are unbeaten in their last two road series.  Myrtle Beach continues its seven-game road trip with the first of three with the Wilmington Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium Friday night at 7:05 p.m.  "Pelican Pregame" gets rolling on ESPN Radio The Team and MyrtleBeachPelicans.com with Tyler Maun at 6:45 p.m.

The Pelicans return to the Grand Strand on Tuesday for the first of a six-game homestand with the Lynchburg Hillcats and Wilmington Blue Rocks.  The three-game set against Lynchburg opens up with Dollar Hot Dog Night on the 25th.  Fans can enjoy $1 dogs all night long Tuesday along with the next installment of the Pelicans Team Tuesday Poster Series.

For tickets, contact the Pelicans box office at (843) 918-6000 or (877) 918-TIXX or by visiting the Tickets page at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.