KINSTON, N.C. – A six-run fifth inning propelled the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to an 11-7 victory over the Down East Wood Ducks in Thursday's series opener at Grainger Stadium.
With the Wood Ducks (7-8) ahead 4-1, Down East starter Jeffrey Springs (0-2) hit Tyler Pearson with a pitch to begin the fifth. Springs then walked Bryant Flete before Robert Garcia sacrificed the runners to second and third. An error brought home Pearson, and then Connor Myers clocked a triple off the wall in left to knot the score at four. After Springs issued another free pass to Trent Giambrone, Eddy Martinez ended the southpaw's night by clobbering a three-run homer to left-center to give the Pelicans (7-8) a 7-4 lead.
Myrtle Beach would add to that advantage in the seventh. Matt Rose was hit by a pitch with two outs. The next batter, Jesse Hodges, then drilled a two-run home run to left to increase the advantage to 9-5.
Down East seemed to have an answer after each Pelicans score all night, and in the bottom of the seventh, Eduard Pinto homered to cut the Birds' lead to 9-6.
With the same score in the ninth, Rose reached on an infield single before Hodges walked. Pearson then drove in a run with a base hit to left. Two batters later, Garcia singled to center to plate Hodges and make things 11-6.
The Wood Ducks mounted one final frantic attempt in the bottom of the ninth. Chuck Moorman singled with one out. After a Josh Morgan strikeout, Ledarious Clark walked and then Carlos Arroyo singled in a run to cut the deficit to 11-7. However, James Norwood induced Arturo Lara to ground out to finish off Down East and pick up the right-hander's first save.
Rose began the scoring with a solo homer off the batter's eye in center, only for the Wood Ducks to answer right away in the bottom of the second. Clark walked with two outs, but was able to score from first on Arroyo's base hit to tie the score at one.
Josh Altmann and Luis La O began the third with singles against Pelicans starter Casey Bloomquist. Jairo Beras doubled in both runners, and two batters later, Moorman notched an RBI double of his own to give Down East a 4-1 advantage.
Tommy Thorpe (1-1) earned the win for Myrtle Beach in relief, allowing a run on one hit in 2.1 innings. He struck out two and walked one.
All nine Pelicans in the starting lineup reached base at least once in the victory. The 11 runs, 12 hits and three home runs the Birds compiled were their most in any game this season. Rose, Hodges, Pearson and Garcia each had a pair of knocks, while Martinez led the way with three RBIs. Myers and Hodges also recorded multi-RBI nights.
The Pelicans and Wood Ducks tangle Friday at 7 p.m. in game two of this four-game series. RHP Adbert Alzolay (1-0, 4.40 ERA) makes the start for Myrtle Beach against Down East LHP Wes Benjamin (0-1, 9.82 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.