Zobrist homers for second-straight night, Birds fall to Blue Rocks

Passantino tosses quality start, bats fall silent in 6-2 loss

Ben Zobrist homered for the second-straight night and now has launched a pair of homers in his first two rehab starts with the Pelicans. (Larry Kave - Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Noah Cloonan / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | August 9, 2019 8:22 PM

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (August 9, 2019)- Ben Zobrist blasted a solo homer for the second-consecutive day, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans offense stayed quiet in a 6-2 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the series opener on Friday night from TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. 

After Jeffrey Passantino (L, 1-1) retired the Blue Rocks (23-24, 67-49) in order in the first, Zobrist gave the Birds (24-24, 46-70) some fireworks in the bottom of the first inning. On a 2-0 pitch, the Chicago Cubs rehabber launched a long home run to left to lead off the frame and the Pelicans took a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the second, the Blue Rocks answered as Tyler Hill blasted a solo shot of his own and tied the game at 1-1.

Wilmington took the lead in the top of the fourth inning when Dennicher Carrasco combined with Hill to drill back-to-back doubles and jolt the Blue Rocks ahead 2-1. 

Passantino was dominant for the second-consecutive outing as he allowed just two runs on five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out one in quality start. 

Marcelo Martinez (W, 6-7), the starter for Wilmington, matched Passantino's performance as he allowed just one run across six strong innings and retired the final 15 batters that he faced. 

The Blue Rocks etched another tally in the eighth inning against Scott Effross . After a single from Sebastian Rivero to open the inning, Colby Schultz lined a single to center and Jose Gutierrez bobbled the ball and the error allowed Rivero to score from first and the Blue Rocks made it 3-1. 

In the bottom of the eighth the Pelicans clawed to within a run. Kevonte Mitchell singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and eventually scored when Gutierrez chopped a ball to the pitcher Austin Lambright who threw wildly to first.

Leading 3-2 in the ninth, Wilmington added on some insurance in the top of the frame. For the second time on the night, Carrasco and Hill laced consecutive doubles to extend the Blue Rocks lead to 4-2. 

Two batters later, Kyle Kasser bounced an RBI single up the middle that made it 5-2 Rocks.

Schultz tacked on the final insurance run for Wilmington on a sacrifice fly to left and the Rocks took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. 

Josh Dye entered in the eighth and retired the final five batters to earn the save for Wilmington in a 6-2 win.

The Pelicans and Blue Rocks will continue their three-game series on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. Myrtle Beach has yet to announce a starter for the contest while Wilmington will send LHP Austin Cox (2-3, 2.97) to the bump in the middle game of the series. Television coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. on The CW21 and MiLB.tv. A radio broadcast starts at 5:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast and the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Apps.

Saturday will also be an Embrace Veterans Saturday presented by Embrace Hospice in addition to a Palmetto State Saturday. South Carolina fans receive $3 off of their game ticket by showing their local ID at the Anderson Brothers Bank Box Office, courtesy of Food Lion, Sparks Toyota, WMBF, The Sun News and NASH FM. The night will also include the Locals Dice Roll Extravaganza where, each Saturday, one local fan will have a chance to win up to $25,000 courtesy of HTC and Sparks Toyota and a Postgame Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by East Coast Pyrotechnics.

The 2019 season is the 21st season for the Pelicans franchise and fifth as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For tickets visit MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/tickets, call (843) 918-6000, or visit the Pelicans Box Office.

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. Since being acquired by a group led by Chuck Greenberg during the 2006 season, the Pelicans have repeatedly set team attendance records and become known as one of Minor League Baseball's most innovative and creative franchises. The team and its employees have been dedicated to making a difference in the Myrtle Beach community, specifically giving back over $2 million in donations, fundraising proceeds, in-kind services and community service since launching the Pelicans Play It Forward Community Initiative in 2013. TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in six of the last seven seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences and the best in the Carolina League for six of the past seven seasons. In June 2017, the Pelicans won the 2017 TripAdvisor.com Certificate of Excellence award. On the field, the team has won four Mills Cup Championships, including claims to back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000, and again in 2015 and 2016. The Pelicans have made 11 postseason appearances behind 13 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season, second half of 2016 and first half of 2017. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or email 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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