MYRTLE BEACH — Jake Skole and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans had a giant offensive performance.
Skole finished 4 for 4 with two home runs, four runs scored and three runs batted in, and the Pelicans strung together 15 hits behind starter Nick Tepesch as they took down the Wilmington Blue Rocks 10-2 on Friday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
Skole was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
“Great offensive output tonight and a great game from Skole,” Myrtle Beach manager Jason Wood said. “He got some good pitches to hit. He’s been swinging the bat well lately and he’s staying aggressive in the zone. I’m very proud with the way he took his at-bats tonight.”
The Pelicans were the first to score. Designated hitter Tomas Telis drove in Odubel Herrera on a groundout in the bottom of the first inning as Myrtle Beach took a 1-0 lead.
The Pelicans scored again in the second inning. Edwin Garcia, who’s played in only 19 games for the Pelicans this season, drove in Skole on a single with two outs to give Myrtle Beach a two-run advantage.
Skole, who entered the game batting .192, belted his second home run of the season, a solo shot, in the bottom of the fourth as the Pelicans went ahead 3-0.
Skole created more noise in the sixth inning. The center fielder drove in Brett Nicholas on a single to right field as Myrtle Beach took a 4-0 lead.
“It helps to get ahead,” Skole said. “It definitely takes the pressure off you when you’re in a position to score runs. You have something to fall back on.”
Later in the sixth, the Pelicans pushed more runs across the board. Josh Richmond drove in Christian Villanueva, who leads the team with 20 RBIs, on a sacrifice fly and Myrtle Beach went ahead 5-0. Yefry Castillo drove in Skole on a single to center field to give the Pelicans a six-run lead.
Telis singled on a ground ball to right field to drive in Yefry Castillo in the sixth and Myrtle Beach took a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Rocks scored their first runs of the game in the top of the seventh. Alex McClure drove in Roman Hernandez on a force out to cut Wilmington’s deficit to six. Whit Merrifield drove in Kevin David on a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the Pelicans’ lead to 7-2.
Skole hit his second solo home run of the night in the seventh inning to give Myrtle Beach an 8-2 advantage. Skole has brought his batting average from .173 to .216 just in the past two days. Prior to his second home run of the night, Skole had a hit in his previous six at-bats.
“It feels good,” Skole said of raising his batting average. “There’s still a lot more work to do because it’s not where you want to be at this point in this season. It’s good to string a few good games together though because I haven’t been able to put games together like this, so It’s a good feeling.”
Skole has recently worked with hitting coach Julio Garcia, trying to change up his batting stance.
“It’s helped a lot,” Skole said. “I’ve been trying to get my stance where I can see the ball a little better and it’s finally starting to click. So I think just seeing it has helped it a lot.”
Nick Tepesch earned his third win of the season as he allowed two earned runs, scattered five hits, one walk and had four strikeouts. Tepesch, coming off a start in which he combined with Jimmy Reyes on a no-hitter, lowered his ERA to 3.88.
“I think he just kind of took over from where he left off. He was attacking the zone, he had a great game plan tonight just like he did in his no-hit bid,” Wood said. “He was familiar with these hitters because he saw them last week. Tepesch is a very mature man and he’s thrown the ball real well lately. I like his approach and he’s doing good things for us.”
The Pelicans (23-22) got above .500 and will try to clinch the series from the Blue Rocks when they battle at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
“I hope we continue where we left off after tonight,” Wood said. “I know this is a good hitting ballclub. Our numbers may not show it, but I’ve seen them in spring and these guys can do it. We’re starting to get more comfortable now and it carries over to defense. It keeps our momentum going and hopefully we can keep rolling.”