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Eight unanswered leads Birds to 9-5 comeback triumph

Team scores five runs or more for the 15th time in 19 games in 9-5 win
July 25, 2016

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (July 25, 2016) - A four-run seventh helped the Myrtle Beach Pelicans rally from four runs down for the second straight night Monday, scoring eight answered runs to beat the Carolina Mudcats 9-5 at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

The Pelicans (53-48, 17-14) failed to mount a comeback of more than three runs in each of their first 99 games before doing so on consecutive nights. 

Myrtle Beach cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 before the bottom of the seventh inning, when Mudcats (40-61, 11-20) reliever Chad Sobotka (1-1) hit Erick Castillo to begin the inning. Two batters later, Andrew Ely walked with one out to put runners at first and second. The next batter was David Bote, who lined a two-run double to the wall in left-center to give the Pelicans a 6-5 lead, their first of the night.

After Sobotka was replaced by Taylor Lewis, Yasiel Balaguert singled to push Bote to third. Ian Rice then lined a base hit to center to give Myrtle Beach a 7-5 advantage. Jeffrey Baez followed with another hit to load the bases with one out. Daniel Spingola then chopped a grounder to second. The Mudcats only had time to get one out, which allowed Balaguert to score and make the score 8-5 Pelicans.

Still leading by three in the eighth, Castillo homered to the top of the bleachers in left to extend the lead to 9-5.

Craig Brooks (1-0) did not allow a hit over two innings of relief to earn the win, striking out four in the process. Daury Torrez then worked a scoreless eighth and ninth to notch his second save of the season.

Carolina got the scoring early against Myrtle Beach starter Jeremy Null. Luis Valenzuela doubled to begin the game before being bunted to third. Isaias Tejeda then drove home Valenzuela with a single before Braxton Davidson followed with a double down the right field line to increase the lead to 2-0.

In the top of the second, Ryan Gebhardt drew a walk before Joseph Daris' two-bagger moved him to third. Valenzuela was next and plated both runners with a single down the line in right to double the Muddies' lead to 4-0.

Down 4-0 in the bottom of the second, a Baez RBI groundout put Myrtle Beach on the board.

Leading 4-1 in the top of the third, Carolina got a leadoff single from Tejeda. Sal Giardina then came through with a one-out single before Keith Curcio doubled home Tejeda to cap the Mudcats scoring at 5-1.

Balaguert doubled to begin the fourth before coming into score later in the frame on Spingola's RBI single.

The Birds drew to within one the next inning. Castillo singled to begin the frame, and two batters later, Ely did the same. After a Bote base hit loaded the bases, a wild pitch brought in Castillo before Balaguert notched a sacrifice fly to pull the Pelicans to within 5-4.

After another big night, the Pelicans' Balaguert is 14 for his last 30 at the plate, driving in 15 runs in seven games on seven extra-base hits.

The Pelicans will go for their fifth straight win Tuesday beginning at 7:05 p.m. LHP Tommy Thorpe (4-6, 4.13 ERA) makes the start for Myrtle Beach, while RHP Enderson Franco (5-8, 4.47 ERA) pitches for Carolina. All fans can enjoy $2 craft beers from 6-8 p.m. Coverage of the game begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app, TuneIn and MiLB.tv.

The 2016 season is the 18th season for the Pelicans franchise and second as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2016, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

ABOUT THE PELICANS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play their home games at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in each of the last five seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences in all of sports in each of the last five years and the best in the Carolina League for five straight seasons as well. In May 2015, TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark won the 2015 TripAdvisor.com Certificate of Excellence award. The Pelicans are the defending Mills Cup Champions, winning the title in 2015 as well as 2000 and co-Mills Cup championship honors in the inaugural 1999 season. The Pelicans have made nine postseason appearances behind 11 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season, as well as five Southern Division titles, most recently in 2015. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing [email protected].