KINSTON, NC – A four-run top of the ninth inning rallied the Pelicans past the Wood Ducks 7-4 in the series finale on Sunday. Myrtle Beach only lead for the final inning and the three deciding runs were unearned.
The offense scored in each of the first four innings of the game and Tyler Davis worked five strong innings in a spot start for the Woodies. Eduard Pinto homered in his third consecutive game and Michael O’Neill had three hits in the defeat
However it was a hot start for the Pelicans with the first three batters of the game reaching base, bringing in a run. Davis would manage a line out to Josh Morgan at short and he turned the out into two by throwing to third to double off the runner. Davis would escape the inning against the next batter.
In response, O’Neill hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first to score Pinto and tie the game. Then a streak of four straight innings with a run began. Morgan added a sacrifice fly in the second, Carlos Garay scored on a throwing error by third baseman Jesse Hodges in the third, and Pinto homered to lead off the fourth inning.
With the runs came runners left on base, as Down East left eight runners on base in the first five innings of the game. Davis would only allow one more baserunner after the first inning while striking out four over five innings.
Myrtle Beach made things tight in the seventh inning with a two-out rally against reliever Jacob Shortslef. Four straight singles from the bottom of the order allowed two runs to score and make it a one-run game. Left-hander Adam Choplick came in to relieve Shortslef and would strand the bases loaded to keep the Wood Ducks ahead 4-3.
Blake Bass worked the ninth for the Wood Ducks and retired the first batter he faced with a ground out, but the singles train started to roll again for the Pelicans. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for Carlos Sepulveda with one out. He would knock a deep enough fly ball to center for a sac fly to tie the game at four.
Tyler Pearson also tagged on the play from second and made it to third as the go-ahead run with two outs. Bryant Flete was next and he hit a bouncing ball to the left of second base. Morgan fielded the ball to his left but made a throwing error to first to prolong the inning and give Myrtle Beach the lead 5-4.
Daniel Spingola (who delivered the final blow on Thursday night) hit the first extra-base hit of the game for the Pelicans with a double to left-center to score two runs and put the game out of reach for the Woodies 7-4.
Monday, the Wood Ducks enjoy the first off day of the 2017 season then head down the road to Zebulon to visit the Carolina Mudcats for three games. The series plays significance because it’s the first time the franchise that left Kinston meets the new Wood Ducks occupying Grainger Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.