Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MYRTLE BEACH, SC- Coming off a rousing 10-5 victory over Frederick which saw the Pelicans bash three home runs, the Birds came into Wednesday's contest with their ace on the hill, looking to secure a victory in back to back games. Behind J.J. Hoover, Mycal Jones, and new-old friend Cody Johnson, the Pelicans plated three first-inning runs and held on for a 5-3 victory at BB&T Coastal Field.
With Hoover making his team-leading 23rd start of the season, the Pelican hurler had one of his best games of the season. In six innings of work, Hoover allowed just two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out eight Keys hitters, just one shy of his season high. Thanks to an opportunistic Pelican offense, Hoover (10-6) was able to pick up his team-leading tenth win of the season, one off the Braves' organizational high.
The Pelicans began the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Mycal Jones continued to flash his power stroke, crushing a Luis Noel offering into the left field bleachers for his third home run in the past two ballgames to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. For the Pelicans, it was the first leadoff home run of the season as their leadoff man continues his sizzling stretch during this series.
Later on in that same frame, the Pelicans welcomed back an old friend as 2009 Carolina League All-Star Cody Johnson returned to the Grand Strand from Double-A Mississippi. In his first at bat back here in Myrtle Beach, Johnson returned with a flourish, roping a laser to the right-center field gap to score two and give the Pelicans a 3-0 lead.
Frederick plated an unearned run in the top of the third off Hoover as Brian Ward, who led off the frame with a single, came around to score when Ronnie Welty's hard smash to third resulted in an error to cut the Pelicans lead to 3-1.
A Cory Harrilchak RBI double in the fifth inning padded the Pelicans lead, but Pelican killer Miguel Abreu blasted his fifth homer of the season well over the left field bleachers in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-2. Abreu now has 17 of his 40 runs batted in this season against Pelican pitching.
The middle of the Pelicans order gave the Birds some more breathing room in the seventh when Dan Nelson continued his dominance against Frederick pitching by lacing an RBI single to left to score Mycal Jones, who notched three runs on the evening.
The Keys showed resiliency yet again in the subsequent half-inning when Bobby Stevens' high chopping ground ball bounded over the head of Nelson at third to score L.J. Hoes and make it a 5-3 game, but Luis Avilan tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his seventh save of the season and ensure the Birds of at least a series split going into tomorrow's finale.
Cody Johnson finished his first game back on the Grand Strand 1-for-2 with a two-run double and two walks, while seven different Pelican starters knocked base hits in the ballgame.
Thursday will mark the final regular season game between the Keys and the Pelicans and the Birds will be hosting yet another sensational Thirsty Thursday promotion at the ballpark. From 6-8 PM, fans can enjoy dollar drafts presented by Budweiser, Malibu's Surf Club, and the Weekly Surge. In addition to the Thirsty Thursday deals, it will also be Key West Night at the ballpark with beach-themed events taking place all night long! After the final out is recorded, all fans in attendance will be treated to a spectacular fireworks extravaganza!