Myrtle Beach, SC - WOODBRIDGE, VA – The second half of the 2010 season dawned with promise for the Pelicans as a way to reset a disappointing first-half record back to zeroes and get back in the fight in the Carolina League Southern Division.
Unfortunately, it started with some all-too-familiar offensive problems of the first half rearing their heads in a 2-1 Thursday night loss to the Potomac Nationals at G.Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The Pelicans began generating offensive chances against Potomac starter Brad Peacock in the top of the second inning, but that same frame also began a frustrating trend of scoring opportunities going unfulfilled. Peacock worked out of a first-and-second, no-outs jam in the second inning but couldn't do the same in the third.
The Pelicans put men at first and second with one gone, and with two out, Mike Jones came through for Myrtle Beach, slapping a Peacock fastball up the middle to score Cole Miles and give the second half's first advantage to the Pelicans at 1-0. However, the Pelicans left runners at first and third in that inning and stranded Dan Nelson at first after his leadoff single an inning later.
Lefty Matt Crim did his best to make the razor-thin margin stand, but it was after Peacock had buckled down that the Nationals did their damage.
In back-to-back innings in the sixth and seventh, Robby Jacobsen and Tyler Moore crushed leadoff solo homers, the latter off the right field foul pole, to pull Potomac even and then gain the upper hand.
Crim (4-6) rebounded from a rough last outing against Potomac in which he allowed nine runs, six earned, over an inning and two-thirds against the Nationals just prior to the All-Star Break at BB&T Coastal Field.
By the time he departed following seven innings of two-run ball, Peacock (2-8) was through handing out chances. The right-hander struck out eight, walked one, and surrendered the Pelicans' lone run on four hits. Peacock is 2-0 against the Pelicans this season and 0-8 against the rest of the Carolina League. He retired the last 12 men he faced before giving way to the Potomac bullpen.
In the eighth, reliever Cory VanAllen surrendered a leadoff walk to L.V. Ware, and with one out, Mycal Jones crushed a drive to right-center field. With the fleet-footed Ware already at second and poised to score if the ball got down, P-Nats center fielder Nick Moresi laid out in a full-extension dive and hauled the ball in to prevent extra bases and, quite possibly, a tie game.
Three Pelicans hitters went down via strikeout in the ninth against righty Dan Leatherman (S, 3). Myrtle Beach left seven men on the basepaths as a team against Potomac's two, and the Pelicans went just 1-for-7 with men in scoring position.
The Pelicans and Nationals continue this second half-opening, three-game set tomorrow night at Pfitzner Stadium. Myrtle Beach will send right-hander Arodys Vizcaino (0-0, 6.23) to the hill to oppose Potomac lefty Evan Bronson (2-5, 4.04).
The Pelicans return to the Grand Strand on June 30 for the first on a seven-game homestand against the Kinston Indians and Salem Red Sox at BB&T Coastal Field.