Keys outslug Pelicans 13-8 in series opener

Machin, Short each notch three hits and Higgins homers in losing effort

Vimael Machin had three hits and two RBIs in Monday's loss at Frederick. (Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Scott Kornberg / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | July 31, 2017 11:17 PM

FREDERICK, Md. (July 31, 2017) Vimael Machin notched three hits and three RBIs and P.J. Higgins homered Monday, but it wasn't enough in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' 13-8 loss to the Frederick Keys at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.

With the Pelicans (56-51, 13-24) ahead 5-4, Myrtle Beach starter Kyle Miller (2-3) walked Chris Clare to begin the fourth. Ricardo Andujar singled, and two batters later, reliever Jordan Minch walked Ryan Flaherty to load the bases. Ademar Rifaela then crushed a grand slam down the right field line to give Frederick (49-56, 18-18) an 8-5 lead.

The Birds were able to strike back quickly in the fifth. Zack Short , who had three hits, singled and Higgins was hit by a pitch to start the frame. After a strikeout and flyout, Machin lined an RBI single to draw the Pelicans to within 8-6.

Frederick was soon able to put things out of reach. Alex Murphy and Clare launched back-to-back homers to jumpstart the bottom of the fifth. Andujar doubled, and two batters later, Flaherty was hit by a pitch. After Rifaela struck out, Yermin Mercedes blasted a three-run home run to widen the gap to 13-6.

Higgins hit his homer to start the seventh. With one out, Jesse Hodges , Machin and Martinez registered three consecutive hits, with the last one bringing in a run, to make it 13-8. Myrtle Beach, though, could get no closer in their eighth loss in nine games.

The Keys got on the scoreboard first. Andujar singled in a scoreless third and then Jay Gonzalez walked. Two batters later, a Rifaela walk loaded the bases. Mercedes knocked in a run with a base hit, but on the same play, Gonzalez was thrown out at the plate by Martinez. However, Randolph Gassaway stroked a two-run double and Glynn Davis added an RBI single to push Frederick to a 4-0 advantage.

Myrtle Beach came charging in their next at-bats. Keys starter Cristian Alvarado walked Higgins and yielded a single to Trent Giambrone to start the top of the fourth. The runners moved up on a fielder's choice before Machin knocked them in with a base hit. After a Martinez single, Tyler Alamo doubled in Machin to pull the Birds to within one. A Robert Garcia RBI single knotted the score at four, and Connor Myers lifted a sacrifice fly off reliever Jay Flaa (2-2) to give the Pelicans their first and only lead at 5-4.

All nine Pelicans in the starting lineup notched at least one hit in the effort.

Tuesday's 7 p.m. middle game features LHP Justin Steele (6-7, 2.99 ERA) for the Pelicans against Keys LHP Reid Love (2-4, 4.22 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

The 2017 season is the 19th season for the Pelicans franchise and third as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2017, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail info@myrtlebeachpelicans.com, 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 six seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences in all of sports in each of the last six years and the best in the Carolina League for six 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 two-time defending Mills Cup Champions, winning the title in 2015 and 2016 as well as 2000 and co-Mills Cup championship honors in the inaugural 1999 season. The Pelicans have made ten postseason appearances behind 12 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season and second half of 2016. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing Info@MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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