Jose Peraza went 3-for-4 and stole his league-leading 28th base of the season, but Myrtle Beach completed a three-game sweep of the Lynchburg Hillcats with a 9-2 victory at Calvin Falwell Field Thursday night.
The Pelicans (40-18) clinched the first-half title for the Carolina League Southern Division with a week-and-a-half to go before the All-Star Break, while Lynchburg (30-30) fell 2.5 games behind the Potomac Nationals in the Northern Division.
Similar to the previous games of the series, once Myrtle Beach scored, they led the rest of the way. In the second inning, Joey Gallo earned a leadoff walk, Preston Beck singled him to third, and David Lyon hit a sacrifice fly to center to break a scoreless tie. After Alberto Triunfel reached on a throwing error by Kevin Ahrens, Kevin Torres hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Triunfel scored later in the frame on an errant pickoff throw by Jarett Miller.
Miller (2-6) took the loss after eventually allowing five runs, three of which were earned, on four hits in four-plus innings. He walked four and struck out two. Alex Wilson tossed a scoreless ninth to extend his team-best streak to 15 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
Lynchburg’s only runs came in the third inning when Peraza began the frame with a double to right field. Kyle Wren hit an RBI single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Daniel Carroll also singled to center, and Levi Hyams lined a single to left to load the bases. Ahrens bounced into a double play, which scored Wren and pulled the Hillcats within one, 3-2.
Myrtle Beach used a four-run fifth and a two-run eighth to seal the victory. Jorge Alfaro had an RBI triple as part of the rally in the fifth, while Gallo hit an RBI single and Lyon added a two-run double.
In the eighth inning, Luis Mendez hit a leadoff double and scored on a triple by Chris Garia. Garia came home on an RBI groundout by Alfaro. Gallo also hit a double in the eighth to finish the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and his league-leading 52nd RBI of the year.
Will Lamb (1-1) earned the win for the Pelicans with two scoreless innings of relief in which he struck out four while holding Lynchburg to two hits. Chi Chi Gonzalez began the game but did not qualify for the win after allowing two runs on seven hits in only four innings.
Lynchburg will begin a three-game set against Salem on Friday with a 7:05pm tilt at City Stadium. Wes Parsons (4-2, 4.02) will take the mound for the Hillcats against righty Luis Diaz (5-3, 3.95). The gates open at 6pm, and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Hillcats T-Shirt courtesy of High Peak Sportswear and STEVE FM.