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Four-Run Sixth Powers Pelicans Win over Fireflies

May 21, 2022

Myrtle Beach has won seven straight games for the second time this season

Myrtle Beach has won seven straight games for the second time this season

By Sam Weiderhaft

With five hits, three triples, and four runs in the sixth inning, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans won their seventh consecutive game and fifth of the series over the Columbia Fireflies 5-1 Saturday night. The Pelicans continue to hold first place in the Carolina League South division standings at 27-11, while the Fireflies dropped to 11-27 with the loss.

Despite striking out 14 times, the Pelicans still came together for a five-run, nine-hit performance in game five of the series. Pete Crow-Armstrong (2-5, 3B, 2 R), James Triantos (1-4, 3B, RBI, R), and Ethan Hearn (2-4, 3B, RBI) all hit triples in the sixth inning to spark the lineup. Myrtle Beach left just five runners on base throughout the game.

The Myrtle Beach pitching staff held Columbia to just a single run with Tyler Santana (4-0) grabbing the win out of the bullpen. Santana lasted five innings, the longest by a Birds’ relief pitcher this season while allowing one earned run off four hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Starting pitcher Luke Little pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts to begin the contest.

Columbia’s one run came off Guillermo Quintana’s (2-3, HR, RBI, BB) solo shot in the eighth inning. The top four hitters in the lineup all reached base safely with Quintana logging the only multi-hit game.

In his first professional start, Ben Kudrna (0-1) took the loss with one earned run off one hit in his 3 2/3 innings pitched. Kudrna struck out five and walked just one in his outing. The following four runs were charged to Heribert Garcia in his 3 1/3 innings off six hits while striking out six.

Starting pitching dominated the first three innings but the Pelicans broke through for their first run in the top of the fourth. Crow-Armstrong led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch with one out. He moved to third on a groundout by Triantos and came home on another wild pitch by Kudrna for the game’s first run.

A quiet fifth inning gave way for a four-run sixth as the Pelicans took control. Crow-Armstrong drove a triple to deep center field to start the inning and came home on Juan Mora’s double for a 2-0 lead. Triantos followed with the third extra-base hit of the inning on a triple to center to score Mora. After the first out was recorded, BJ Murray Jr. singled to right to score Triantos and push the Birds’ lead to 4-0. Murray scored two batters later on Hearn’s triple down the right-field line for the fourth run of the frame.

The Fireflies started the bottom of the eighth inning with Omar Hernandez reaching on a fielding error by Triantos at third. Rubendy Jaquez stepped up and grounded into a double play at short. Quintana followed with his sixth home run of the season to left-center field to put Columbia on the board.

Things got shaky in the ninth inning as Pelicans’ reliever Adam Laskey quickly retired the first two batters. Back-to-back fielding errors by Mora at second and Reginald Preciado at short put two runners on base. On a 3-2 pitch, Laskey hit River Town to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. Hernandez lined to a diving Triantos at third who made the catch to end the game.

The series between Myrtle Beach and Columbia will conclude on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m.