Home runs power Birds by Keys

Pelicans smash four homers in 9-5 victory

Jesse Hodges homered and doubled in Saturday's 9-5 win at Frederick. (Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Scott Kornberg / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | July 8, 2017 9:39 PM ET

FREDERICK, Md. (July 8, 2017) - The Myrtle Beach Pelicans drilled four home runs Saturday to back five strong innings from Thomas Hatch in a 9-5 win over the Frederick Keys at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium.

The game was scoreless in the second inning when Jesse Hodges popped a solo home run to left off Frederick (36-48, 5-10) starter Keegin Akin (6-6). Matt Rose followed with a solo shot of his own to increase the Pelicans (49-37, 6-10) lead to 2-0.

Zack Short then reached on an error, but Akin retired the final 14 batters he faced. The southpaw ceded just two runs on two hits in six innings, striking out nine against one walk.

Hatch was tremendous, yielding just one run on six hits in five frames. The right-hander issued just one free pass against his five punchouts to earn the win.

Frederick's lone run against Hatch came in the fourth inning. Ademar Rifaela singled to begin the frame. After Randolph Gassaway struck out, Shane Hoelscher singled and Alex Murphy walked to load the bases. Glynn Davis followed with an RBI single to cut the Birds' lead to 2-1.

The score would remain that way until the seventh. Tyler Alamo singled before Hodges doubled him to third. Rose then grounded a ball to the Keys' first baseman Murphy, who threw wild to the plate, allowing both Alamo and Hodges to score.

In the eighth, Jay Gonzalez singled and Ryan Mountcastle walked before a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position. Rifaela then cashed both of them in with a two-run single to pull the Keys to within 4-3.

Myrtle Beach received some important insurance in the ninth. Rose doubled to start the frame, and two batters later, Connor Myers doubled him in. The Keys elected to intentionally walk Bryant Flete , which increased his on-base streak to 18 games. A balk moved the runners to second and third. P.J. Higgins lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Myers. Trent Giambrone then blasted a two-run homer to left-center to widen the margin to 8-3. For the second time, the Pelicans went back-to-back as Eddy Martinez powered a laser over the wall in left to push the advantage to 9-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, James Norwood retired the first two batters before Armando Araiza homered. Norwood hit Ricardo Andujar with a pitch. Defensive indifference pushed Andujar to second. A Gonzalez infield single coupled with a Myrtle Beach error brought in Andujar to cut the Birds' lead to 9-5. Norwood then walked Mountcastle before getting Rifaela to ground out to end the ballgame.

The Pelicans send LHP Ryan Kellogg (3-6, 5.37 ERA) to the mound in Sunday's 6 p.m. contest against Keys RHP Cristian Alvarado (3-8, 6.27 ERA). Coverage begins at 5:45 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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