MYRTLE BEACH, SC - Jared Bolden has tormented the Salem Red Sox this week, but he saved his biggest hit for last. His fourth hit of the game was a 13th-inning, two-run, walk-off home run to right field that gave the Pelicans an 8-6 win at BB&T Coastal Field on Saturday to complete their first four-game sweep of Salem since April 2006. Bolden is hitting .478 over his last 12 games.
Salem committed five errors, the last of which opened the door for Myrtle Beach before Bolden kicked it in. With two out and the bases empty in the 13th, Leury Garcia lifted a fly ball that appeared to send the game to the 14th. But right fielder Bryce Brentz dropped the ball, allowing Garcia to reach second base to set up Bolden's heroics.
A Lynchburg, VA native, Bolden began the season in a 2-for-32 hole, but he has hit .325 since to raise his average to .291, fifth-best in the Carolina League. His game-winner off Anatanaer Batista (4-3) was the Pelicans' first walk-off home run of 2011.
Up 6-5, the Red Sox were one out away from salvaging the final game of the series after Will Latimer struck out the first two batters of the ninth. Ryan Strausborger laced a double down the third base line for his 100th hit of the season before Jared Prince singled to center to plate the tying run.
Like the night before, when the Birds got great outings from Ryan Kelly and Zach Osborne to set up a comeback victory, it was another shutdown performance from the Myrtle Beach bullpen. Kennil Gomez twirled four shutout frames of one-hit ball to get through the tenth. Chad Bell retired five of the six men he faced before Salem put the go-ahead run aboard in the 12th. Ryan Rodebaugh came in and induced a Brentz groundout to strand the runner at third. Rodebaugh (1-0) worked a 1-2-3 13th to earn his first victory as a Pelican after his July 8 call-up from low-A Hickory.
The Pelicans got their biggest offensive output from the top third of their order, which combined to go 11-for-20. Garcia tallied three hits, stole a base and scored three times out of the leadoff spot. The next two men in the lineup, Bolden and Strausborger, both had four hits to lead the way.
The game began as a sloppy one as both teams exchanged a pair of unearned runs in the first two innings. In addition to Salem's five defensive miscues, the Pelicans made three errors. After seven combined errors in the first five and a half innings, neither team made one until Brentz's drop in the final frame.
Barret Loux started for Myrtle Beach and allowed six runs, only three earned, in six innings and stood to take the loss before the Birds' ninth-inning dramatics. Salem starter Chris Hernandez surrendered three runs, only one earned, in five frames. Of the game's 14 runs, only seven were charged as earned.
The four-game sweep was Myrtle Beach's first over Salem since April 24-27, 2006, when the Birds took all four against the Astros-affiliated Salem Avalanche. The Pelicans improved to 12-11 and moved into second place in the Southern Division, only one game behind the Kinston Indians.
Salem goes home to play Frederick on Sunday while the Pelicans have the day off. The Birds are back in action on Monday night when they open a four-game series at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks with Robbie Ross (8-3, 2.40) on the mound. First pitch at BB&T Coastal Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets for all Pelicans home games are available at the BB&T Coastal Field box office, MyrtleBeachPelicans.com, and by phone at 843-918-6000 or 877-918-TIXX.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.