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Pelicans Drop Thursday Night’s Game with GreenJackets 10-8

(Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
August 25, 2022

The Birds have posted over 10 hits in each of the first three games this week

The Birds have posted over 10 hits in each of the first three games this week

By Sam Weiderhaft

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans allowed five runs in the top of the third and never recovered as they fell in the third game of the series to the Augusta GreenJackets 10-8 on Thursday night. Myrtle Beach now stands at 71-46 on the season with a 24-27 second-half record. With their second win of the week, the GreenJackets improved to 60-56 and 26-26 in the second half.

Despite tallying double-digit hits for the third game in a row, the Pelicans stranded 12 and went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position. Moises Ballesteros (3-3, 2B, 2 BB) reached base in all five plate appearances while leading the Birds with three hits. Juan Mora (2-6, 2 RBI) brought home a pair of runs on a single in the bottom of the fourth.

Koen Moreno (0-2) allowed six earned runs in his 2 2/3 inning start to take the loss. Moreno walked five, hit three batters, and sacrificed three hits in the outing. Chase Watkins followed with three earned runs in three innings of relief. The Pelicans walked eight and hit four batters in the loss.

With a three-run home run in the top of the third, Kadon Morton (1-6, HR, 3 RBI) provided the biggest blow. Francisco Floyd (2-4, 2 RBI, BB) and Stephen Paolini (1-4, 2B, 2 RBI) both brought in multiple runs in the winning effort. Ignacio Alvarez (3-4, 3B, 2B, RBI, BB) came a home run shy of the cycle and led the team in hits.

After starter Sam Strickland allowed six runs, five earned in his four innings of work, James Acuna (4-2) took the win with one earned run across his 2 2/3 innings with three walks and two hits allowed to two strikeouts. Estarlin Rodriguez closed the door in the middle of the ninth to pick up his third save.

Both teams fired away with two runs in each half of the second. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Paolini lined a double to the corner in right field with two runs coming across as the GreenJackets took an early lead.

The Pelicans matched it in the bottom half. With runners on the corners, Strickland threw a wild pitch to score James Triantos from third. Jacob Wetzel came up a few batters later and grounded a double to left field to score Ballesteros from second to tie the game 2-2.

Augusta took advantage with a five-run top of the third. They loaded the bases again with two walks and a single, and Floyd drew a bases-loaded walk on Moreno to plate a run. Antonio Barranca followed by grounding out into a double play as another run scored and a runner was left on third. After Paolini was hit by a pitch, Watkins was called out of the bullpen to replace Moreno. The first batter he faced was Morton as he threw two straight balls to start the at-bat. Morton took the next pitch over the wall in left-center for a three-run home run to break the score open to 7-2 GreenJackets.

The Pelicans inched back as the game went on. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fourth, Kevin Alcantara grounded out to second with a run coming across. Mora followed with his two-run single on a line drive to left to cut the Augusta lead to 7-5.

The GreenJackets responded for a two-run top of the fifth as Alvarez hit an RBI double and E.J. Exposito hit him in on an RBI single to bring the lead up to 9-5.

In the Pelicans half, Felix Stevens walked and would move to third on a wild pitch and passed ball. He scored on a one-out groundout by Triantos to second base.

Down 9-6 in the bottom of the seventh, the Pelicans loaded the bases with two outs. Liam Spence walked on a 3-2 pitch to bring a run home as the Birds came within two.

Floyd hit an RBI single in the top of the eighth with one out for the 10th GreenJackets run.

Down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Pelicans mounted a late rally that came up just short. Triantos and Ballesteros both singled to lead off the inning. Triantos scored on a wild pitch by Darling Florentino and Ballesteros moved to third on a single by Spence. Rodriguez came out of the bullpen and got Wetzel to fly out for the first out. Alcantara drew a walk as the winning run was on base with the bases loaded. Mora came up and grounded a 1-0 pitch to a 6-4-3 double play that ended the game.

The Pelicans and GreenJackets will square off for the fourth game of the series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.