MYRTLE BEACH, SC- After Saturday night's improbable walk-off victory against Kinston super-closer Cory Burns, the Pelicans looked to build off that momentum and possibly take an important series from their Southern Division foe. Instead, the visiting K-Tribe posted a pair of four-run innings en route to a convincing 9-2 victory in a rain-shortened evening at BB&T Coastal Field.
With rain in the area all evening, the K-Tribe got the ball rolling against Spruill in the top of the first inning, plating four runs against the lanky Pelicans right-hander. A pair of sacrifice flies put the first two runners on the board, but the big blow was delivered by Juan Diaz, who laced a double to the left-center field gap, making it a 4-0 Kinston lead before the Pelicans had a chance to grab their bats.
The Birds got back a bit of momentum from the Indians in the bottom of the first as Mycal Jones doubled, stole third, and came around on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gerry Rodriguez.
The rain began to fall in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Pelicans were able to add another with two down in the frame. Kinston starter Joe Gardner plunked Shawn McGill and a single from Mycal Jones put runners on first and second. With L.V. Ware at the plate, the speedy outfielder hit a tapper down the third base line which Ware beat out to first. When the throw from Kyle Bellows got away from first baseman Jeremie Tice, McGill came around to make it a 4-2 ballgame.
Unfortunately for the Pelicans, that was the closest they would get on this day. In the top of the sixth, Kinston put their second four-spot on the scoreboard against Spruill and reliever Chad Rodgers. A pair of runs came around on a missed catch error by McGill and two more runs scored on a double from Abner Abreu to make it 8-2.
Spruill (3-4) worked through traffic all evening long, lasting 5 1/3 innings but surrendered six runs while walking a season-high four. Kinston starter Gardner (11-5) earned his league leading 11th victory of the season after allowing two runs (one earned) in five innings while whiffing four.
With the rain continuing to fall at a steady rate for about an hour throughout the middle innings, the tarp finally came on the field in the top of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded with Thomas Berryhill coming in to pitch and the score at 9-2.
After a delay, the game was officially called, and Kinston was awarded a rain-shortened 9-2 victory.
With Salem's victory over Frederick on Sunday, the Pelicans dropped a game in the standings in the race for the final playoff spot, and now sit a game and a half behind Salem, who comes to the Grand Strand for a pivotal three-game series on Tuesday.
After an off day, the Pelicans welcome in their Southern Division nemesis Salem Red Sox to BB&T Coastal Field for the final time in the 2010 regular season to open a three-game series. In game one, it will be the final Team Tuesday of the season as the first 1,000 fans through the gates at the ballpark will receive a collectable poster of the entire 2010 Pelicans team presented by emediagroup coastal.
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