Eighth inning rally gives Pelicans the win in home opener, 4-2
Matt Mervis’ three-run double in the eighth inning helped the Pelicans to victory in the first home game since 2019
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - Over 3,000 fans witnessed a thriller on Tuesday night at Pelicans Ballpark as Myrtle Beach won their home opener 4-2 over the Augusta GreenJackets.
With the win, the Birds improve to a 3-4 record to start the season. Augusta falls to 3-4 after splitting a six-game series with Columbia last week.
The bats were quiet for the home team up until the eighth inning when Matt Mervis (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI) unloaded the bases with a go-ahead three-run double to put the Pelicans in the lead. Darius Hill (3-4, 2B) collected over half of the Pelicans’ five hits on the evening and extended his hitting streak to the first seven games to start out the year.
It was another impressive performance from the Myrtle Beach pitching staff as Joe Nahas (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after throwing four scoreless innings in relief with six strikeouts. Scott Kobos earned his first save of the season with three strikeouts in the ninth. Augusta struck out 16 times, a new season-high for the Pelicans’ pitching staff.
The GreenJackets were led by their leadoff hitter Stephen Paolini (2-4, 2B, R), with Vaughn Grissom (1-4, RBI) and Bryson Horne (1-4, RBI) providing the hits to score the only two runs of the game for Augusta.
Estarlin Rodriguez (0-1) suffered the loss after pitching one inning and giving up two runs on one hit. Alec Barger started the game for Augusta, and pitched 4.2 innings, giving up three hits and striking out six.
It didn’t take long for the GreenJackets to get on the board as Paolini led off the game with a double to left field, where he would advance to third on a throwing error to second from Jordan Nwogu. Paolini would score one batter later on an RBI groundout from Grissom.
Myrtle Beach evened the score in their half of the third, with Edmond Americaan leading off the inning with a walk. Hill squared up a perfect bunt down the third-base line in the following at-bat, and the throw from Augusta catcher Javier Valdes to first base went wild into right field. Americaan came home to score, and the Pelicans tied up the game 1-1.
In their half of the fourth, Augusta led off the inning with a Landon Stephens walk, and a strikeout to Willie Carter. Javier Valdes was hit by a pitch from Myrtle Beach starter Adam Laskey, and Horne followed with an RBI single to left field that scored Stephens and put Augusta up 2-1. With two runners on, Laskey was replaced with Jake Reindl, who retired the following two batters to get out of the inning.
There wouldn’t be another run scored until the decisive eighth inning. Yeison Santana led off the Pelicans half with a walk off Estarlin Rodriguez, and would advance to third with an Ed Howard single up the middle. Rodriguez was replaced with Benjamin Dunn, who intentionally walked Yohendrick Pinango to load up the bases after striking out Nwogu. After arriving in Myrtle Beach yesterday and being activated to the roster earlier today, Mervis lined a ball down the right-field line that stopped at the wall, while all three runs came across to score and Mervis got to second.
Back in the city where he attended college, Kobos came out to close out the game in the ninth. Carter led off the inning with a single, followed by another single from Valdes. Kobos struck out the next two, before loading the bases up with a walk to Cade Bunnell. With the tying run at second, Kobos struck out Cam Shephard to end the game with the Pelicans collecting the win 4-2.
Myrtle Beach and Augusta will square off for the second game of the series tomorrow with first pitch slated for 7:05.
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