Pelicans Sacrifice Five in Ninth, Lose 9-4 to GreenJackets
Myrtle Beach falls to 1-5 on Tuesdays this season
(Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
May 16, 2023
By Sam Weiderhaft
Entering the ninth inning in a 4-4 game, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans saw five runs score in the top of the ninth as the Augusta GreenJackets took Tuesday’s series opener 9-4. Both teams now stand at 16-17 and are tied for the third spot in the Carolina
By Sam Weiderhaft
Entering the ninth inning in a 4-4 game, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans saw five runs score in the top of the ninth as the Augusta GreenJackets took Tuesday’s series opener 9-4. Both teams now stand at 16-17 and are tied for the third spot in the Carolina League South division standings.
Eight of the nine Myrtle Beach hits were singles as Andy Garriola (3-3, 2B, RBI) paced the offense with three hits and an RBI double in the effort. Cristian Hernandez (2-4, RBI) and Juan Mora (2-3) each posted multi-hit performances. The Birds were clutch with runners in scoring position, going 4-7.
Pelicans’ starter Grant Kipp tossed a scoreless start for the second consecutive outing with five shutout frames and four hits allowed with two walks and three strikeouts. Tuesday’s loss went to Johzan Oquendo (1-3) after allowing four of the five ninth-inning runs off four-straight walks and one hit allowed. Reliever Luis Rujano also sacrificed four earned runs in his two innings.
The GreenJackets lineup was led by Nick Clarno (3-5, 2B, 3 RBI) with a three-RBI night and a double. David McCabe (2-4, RBI, BB) and Justin Janas (2-3, RBI) each collected multiple hits with two runs driven in between the two. The GreenJackets left nine on base and went 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
Cedric De Grandpre tossed an impressive six innings with just one unearned run and five hits allowed with six strikeouts and just two walks. Augusta used just two pitchers with Nolan Martinez (2-0) taking the win with three runs, one earned across his three innings out of the bullpen.
Garriola got things going for Myrtle Beach in their half of the second by leading off with a single, then stealing second and moving to third on a throwing error by Clarno behind the plate trying to throw him out. Jefferson Encarnacion brought him in on a groundout to second to put the Birds in front 1-0.
Both starters held the offenses in check, with the next runs not coming until the seventh. The GreenJackets plated four runs in the top half to go in front. With Rujano pitching, Clarno lined a one-out single to score Justin Janas from second to even the score. After Francisco Floyd walked, Tyler Collins lined a double to the corner in left that scored Clarno. Ambioris Tavarez followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Floyd from third. With Collins on second, McCabe took an RBI single to right for the fourth run of the inning.
The Pelicans tied it up with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on the corners, Moises Ballesteros grounded a single to left on a two-strike pitch to plate Rafael Morel from third. Garriola followed with a double off the wall in left that scored another run and put runners on second and third. Hernandez tied the game with a line drive that bounced into right field to score Ballesteros. Garriola was tagged out at home trying to score the go-ahead run to end the inning.
Having just tied the game at four, the momentum was quickly lost as Augusta scored five in the top of the ninth. Oquendo walked the first three batters to load the bases, then walked Jeremy Celedonio to bring home the first run. Angel Gonzalez replaced Oquendo and gave up a one-out single to Justin Janas that scored another run. Each runner moved up and another run scored on a wild pitch by Gonzalez, and the GreenJackets finished their tirade with a two-out ground-rule double from Clarno that scored two as the visitors took a 9-4 lead.
The Pelicans went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Myrtle Beach and Augusta will meet for game two of the series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.