Six-run fifth propels Birds to series-opening win

Martinez, Rose, Hodges all homer in 11-7 triumph over Down East

Eddy Martinez's homer put the Pelicans ahead in Thursday's 11-6 win at Down East. (Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Scott Kornberg / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | April 20, 2017 11:10 PM ET

KINSTON, N.C. (April 20, 2017) - A six-run fifth inning propelled the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to an 11-7 victory over the Down East Wood Ducks in Thursday's series opener at Grainger Stadium.

With the Wood Ducks (7-8) ahead 4-1, Down East starter Jeffrey Springs (0-2) hit Tyler Pearson with a pitch to begin the fifth. Springs then walked Bryant Flete before Robert Garcia sacrificed the runners to second and third. An error brought home Pearson, and then Connor Myers clocked a triple off the wall in left to knot the score at four. After Springs issued another free pass to Trent GiambroneEddy Martinez ended the southpaw's night by clobbering a three-run homer to left-center to give the Pelicans (7-8) a 7-4 lead.

Myrtle Beach would add to that advantage in the seventh. Matt Rose was hit by a pitch with two outs. The next batter, Jesse Hodges, then drilled a two-run home run to left to increase the advantage to 9-5.

Down East seemed to have an answer after each Pelicans score all night, and in the bottom of the seventh, Eduard Pinto homered to cut the Birds' lead to 9-6.

With the same score in the ninth, Rose reached on an infield single before Hodges walked. Pearson then drove in a run with a base hit to left. Two batters later, Garcia singled to center to plate Hodges and make things 11-6.

The Wood Ducks mounted one final frantic attempt in the bottom of the ninth. Chuck Moorman singled with one out. After a Josh Morgan strikeout, Ledarious Clark walked and then Carlos Arroyo singled in a run to cut the deficit to 11-7. However, James Norwood induced Arturo Lara to ground out to finish off Down East and pick up the right-hander's first save.

Rose began the scoring with a solo homer off the batter's eye in center, only for the Wood Ducks to answer right away in the bottom of the second. Clark walked with two outs, but was able to score from first on Arroyo's base hit to tie the score at one.

Josh Altmann and Luis La O began the third with singles against Pelicans starter Casey Bloomquist. Jairo Beras doubled in both runners, and two batters later, Moorman notched an RBI double of his own to give Down East a 4-1 advantage.

Tommy Thorpe (1-1) earned the win for Myrtle Beach in relief, allowing a run on one hit in 2.1 innings. He struck out two and walked one.

All nine Pelicans in the starting lineup reached base at least once in the victory. The 11 runs, 12 hits and three home runs the Birds compiled were their most in any game this season. Rose, Hodges, Pearson and Garcia each had a pair of knocks, while Martinez led the way with three RBIs. Myers and Hodges also recorded multi-RBI nights.

The Pelicans and Wood Ducks tangle Friday at 7 p.m. in game two of this four-game series. RHP Adbert Alzolay (1-0, 4.40 ERA) makes the start for Myrtle Beach against Down East LHP Wes Benjamin (0-1, 9.82 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:45 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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