FREDERICK, MD – Tuesday evening's middle game of a three-game series with the Frederick Keys set up as a chance for the Pelicans to do something they hadn't done in nearly two calendar years: win their fourth consecutive game. The Pelicans had won three straight twice in the 2009 season and once to kick off the 2010 campaign, but this three-game string felt different.
Behind starter Matt Crim, Myrtle Beach showed why. Crim dealt seven and two-thirds of one-run baseball as the Pelicans continued to ride a resurgent rotation and secured a fourth straight victory for the first time since August of 2008 with a 5-1 win over the Frederick Keys at Harry Grove Stadium.
Crim got some run support before he even got the ball. In fact, the Pelicans matched their average run support behind Crim this season in the game's opening inning alone with two runs in the top of the first. The Citadel product's offense had scored 12 runs behind him in six prior starts this year, but the Birds slapped that output on the scoreboard starting with a Cole Miles single to lead off the game. After Miles stole second, he went to third on a Dan Nelson groundout and came home on a Travis Jones RBI single. Jones scored one batter later when Mike Jones drove a ball to the left-center field gap to bring his surname-mate all the way around from first and hand Crim a 2-0 lead.
The lefty from Charleston did not disappoint with the early cushion. Crim faced the minimum for Frederick in the first, second, fourth, and sixth innings and just one over the minimum in the third and seventh. The only inning in which he ran into trouble was the only inning in which Frederick scored. The Keys plated their lone run in the fifth after Greg Miclat doubled and scored on back-to-back singles by Billy Rowell and Bobby Stevens. That would be all for Frederick as Crim secured a 6-3 double-play ball from Brian Ward to end a first-and-second, one-out threat in the fifth.
In need of insurance with just a 2-1 lead, the Pelicans went to work in the latter third of the game. Matt Kennelly singled to open the seventh inning, going to second base on a wild pitch and later scoring on a Cole Miles RBI single. In the eighth, it was the latter half of the order producing as Samuel Sime crossed home plate on a bases-loaded RBI walk for L.V. Ware. Then, in the ninth, Dan Nelson crushed his second home run in as many days to dead center field to make the Pelicans lead 5-1. Frederick starter Oliver Drake (1-2) was effective over his six innings of work, only allowing two earned runs on seven hits. He struck out seven against two walks but took the loss.
Crim (3-3) departed with two gone in the seventh as the 14th Pelicans pitcher in Myrtle Beach's last 15 games to go at least six innings. He missed becoming the fourth over that span to go eight full frames by just one out. The win was the first for the Pelicans in seven Crim starts this season.
The last time the Pelicans won four straight games was over an eleven-game winning streak from July 30 to the second game of an August 8 doubleheader in their record-breaking, 89-win 2008 campaign. In that season, Myrtle Beach had six winning streaks of four wins or more. The team had not completed that feat since. Until Tuesday.
Myrtle Beach now gets a shot at a series sweep for the first time since the opening series of the season and for just the second time all year. The Pelicans have not swept an opponent since brooming the Kinston Indians in a three-game set from August 4-6, 2008 at BB&T Coastal Field. Southpaw Brett Oberholtzer will go for Myrtle Beach opposite fellow lefty Rick Zagone with first pitch for the series finale scheduled for 7:00 PM. The Pelicans return to Myrtle Beach on Monday, June 7 for the first of three against the Winston-Salem Dash. The first game of the series will be another installment of Kids Eat Free Monday in which all kids ages 12 and under receive a coupon for a free hot dog, chips, and a drink with the purchase of a game ticket.
For tickets, contact the Pelicans box office at (843) 918-6000 or (877) 918-TIXX or visit the Tickets page at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.