After scoring just a total of five runs in four games against Salem in the opening series of the season, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans offense awakened on Friday night in a 7-5 win over the Red Sox in front of 5,605 fans at LewisGale Field.
Trailing by a run heading to the seventh inning, the Pelicans finally broke out of their season-long swoon against the Sox with a five-run frame against Simon Mercedes (L, 1-1). With runners on first and second and one out, Christopher Bostick hit into an apparent inning-ending double play, but the relay throw got away, allowing Edwin Garcia to score and tie the game at three. After a walk, Jorge Alfaro blasted a go-ahead, two-run double to right center, giving Myrtle Beach its first lead of the night at 5-3. Joey Gallo then crushed a 1-0 fastball from Mercedes out to right for his third home run in two nights, pushing the lead to 7-3.
Salem’s offense attempted a comeback in the last of the ninth with Ryan Dent driving home a run on a double to left to make it 7-4. After a walk to load the bases, Aaron King grounded into a double play that pushed across a run, but silenced the rally. Keone Kela (S, 2) then got Matty Johnson, representing the tying run, to pop out in foul territory to end the game.
The Red Sox were held quiet for most of the night, except for a three-run second highlighted by a two-run triple from Kevin Heller to open the scoring. After another run scored on an error, Myrtle Beach starter Chi Chi Gonzalez bounced back to retire 11 of the last 12 he faced before being lifted with an out in the sixth. Sam Stafford (W, 1-0) fired 2.2 scoreless frames before being charged with the two runs in the ninth.
Justin Haley made his first start of the year for Salem and went five innings, yielding two runs on four hits with four strikeouts. The only two runs he gave up came on a two-run single from Preston Beck in the top of the fourth to make it 3-2 in favor of the Red Sox.
The series continues on Saturday night at 6:05 at LewisGale Field. Salem will send southpaw Corey Littrell (0-0, 0.00) to the bump while Myrtle Beach will counter with Sam Wolff (0-1, 1.80).