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Late Rally Drops Magic Number to One as Pelicans Down Cannon Ballers

June 22, 2022

A Myrtle Beach win or Charleston loss in tomorrow’s first-half finale will give the championship to the Pelicans

A Myrtle Beach win or Charleston loss in tomorrow’s first-half finale will give the championship to the Pelicans

By Sam Weiderhaft

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored all five of their runs in the final three innings of the game as they defeated the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers 5-3 on Wednesday night. The comeback victory keeps Myrtle Beach ahead of the Charleston RiverDogs in the Carolina League South Division standings by one game with a 46-19 record. The Birds can clinch the first-half championship and a playoff spot for the first time since 2017 with a win or RiverDogs loss tomorrow night. Kannapolis dropped to 26-39 with the setback.

Ezequiel Pagan (3-4, 3 RBI) kept his hot month of June moving with three singles including the game-winning two-run base hit in the eighth inning. James Triantos (2-4, 2B, RBI, R) brought in a run and hit a double while Reivaj Garcia (1-4, RBI, R) also provided an RBI in the winning effort. After being shut out with only two hits through six innings, the rally included four hits and five runs across the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.

Wednesday’s win went to Adam Laskey (3-0) as he threw two shutout frames out of the bullpen with two strikeouts. Alfredo Zarraga came on for the save and retired the Cannon Ballers in order with a strikeout in the ninth. Porter Hodge started the second game of the series and lasted 3 1/3 innings with all three earned runs off three hits and five walks while striking out six.

Kannapolis walked nine times with all three of their runs coming off RBI walks. Colson Montgomery (2-3, RBI, BB) collected half of the Cannon Baller’s hits for the evening with a pair of singles Misael Gonzalez (0-3, RBI, BB) and James Beard (0-3, RBI, BB) brought home the other two runs off walks for the home team.

After starting pitcher Jesus Valles threw five shutout frames with three strikeouts, the bullpen allowed the five runs with four of them charged to Bowen Plagge (1-2) as he took the loss. Plagge walked three and gave up two hits across his 1 1/3 innings while Angel Acevedo blew the save with an earned run over his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Both teams were quiet in the first three innings with Kannapolis scoring all three of their runs in the fourth. Hodge gave up two walks and a single to bring up Gonzalez with the bases loaded. Gonzalez and Beard drew back-to-back walks to plate two runs. The Cannon Ballers went up 3-0 with two outs as Montgomery walked in Benyamin Bailey.

Myrtle Beach waited until the seventh inning to strike as Triantos led off the frame with a double. With one out, Pagan lined a single to right to score Triantos as the Pelicans made it a two-run game.

The top of the eighth was the deciding inning as three runs came home for the Pelicans. Plagge walked three with one force-out to load the bases with one away. Acevedo came in and fielded a groundout from Triantos as Garcia scored. Following a walk to Kevin Alcantara to load the bases once again, Pagan smacked a single to left-center field that brought home two runs as the Birds took their first lead 4-3.

Garcia singled to left field in the top of the ninth to score the final run as the Pelicans took the second game of the series 5-3.

Thursday’s first pitch in Kannapolis is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Charleston RiverDogs will be taking on the Columbia Fireflies at home at 7:05 p.m. for the final game of the first half.