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Five-Run Sixth Moves Pelicans Past Cannon Ballers in Series Opener

June 21, 2022

Both teams tallied double-digit hits in the offense-heavy matchup

Both teams tallied double-digit hits in the offense-heavy matchup

By Sam Weiderhaft

After the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers took their first lead of the game 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored five runs in the sixth to win the series opener on Tuesday night. With two games left in the first half, the Pelicans hold a one-game lead over the Charleston RiverDogs in the Carolina League South Division standings with a 45-19 record. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now two after Charleston’s win earlier in the evening. Kannapolis dropped to a 26-38 record with the loss.

Three home runs powered the Myrtle Beach lineup as Josue Huma (2-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB), Malcom Quintero (1-4, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB), and James Triantos (2-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB) all went deep in the victory. Kevin Made (3-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R) led the team in hits and provided the game-winning hit with a two-run double in the sixth.

Tuesday’s win went to Frankie Scalzo (2-2) after his two innings in relief with one unearned run off three hits while striking out three. Johzan Oquendo picked up his first save of the year by getting out of the ninth with three strikeouts after allowing two hits.

Kannapolis out-hit the Pelicans 13-11 but stranded 11 runners on base. Wes Kath (2-5, HR, 2 RBI) led the team with two runs batted in off a home run while Wilfred Veras (1-5, HR, RBI) also hit a homer. DJ Gladney (3-5, 3B, 2B, RBI) came a home run shy of the cycle while leading the team in hits.

Zach Cable (0-2) took the loss after suffering four earned runs off two hits and a walk in his lone inning of work. Starting pitcher Brooks Gosswein allowed three runs to cross the plate off seven hits and three walks while striking out five in his four-inning appearance.

The series could not have started better for Myrtle Beach as Huma took Gosswein’s fourth pitch over the left-field wall for a solo homer to lead off. Later in the inning, Matt Warkentin grounded a single to left field to bring in Made with two outs as the Pelicans took an early advantage 2-0.

Quintero led off the top of the second with a solo home run once again over the left-field wall to put the Pelicans up 3-0.

Kannapolis used the long ball to start the bottom half of the second as Veras lined a solo shot to left to put the Cannon Ballers on the board.

The fourth home run of the game came in the bottom of the third as Kath took Pelicans’ starter Richard Gallardo deep to right-center field for a two-run blast that tied the game 3-3

After retiring the first two batters of the bottom of the fifth, Gallardo gave up a single and an RBI triple by Gladney to put the Cannon Ballers in front 4-3. Scalzo came on in relief and retired the first batter he faced to end the inning.

The Pelicans took control and ran away with the series opener in the top of the sixth. The bases loaded on a dropped third strike, a walk, and a single as Made approached the plate. On a 2-1 pitch, Made lined a double to right field as two runs scored to give the Birds the lead back 5-4. Haylen Green came out of the bullpen to replace Cable and immediately gave up a two-run home run to left field to Triantos as Myrtle Beach went up 8-4. It was his second home run of the season.

A run scored for the Cannon Ballers in the bottom half of the sixth on an RBI infield single by Wilber Sanchez with two outs.

In the bottom of the ninth, Oquendo gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning as the tying run came to the plate. Oquendo then struck out the following three batters to close out the game.