MYRTLE BEACH — The Pelicans struck out a season-high 16 Mudcats, and Myrtle Beach scored seven unanswered runs to take down Carolina 7-2 on Saturday at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
“In all honesty we had opportunities to get a little more,” Pelicans manager Jason Wood said, “but we’ll take what we can get. We had some pretty aggressive baserunning and the pitching was great. We just took advantage of them.”
Pelicans starter Luke Jackson departed after allowing two runs, four hits and three walks in five innings while striking out seven.
“Good performance out of Luke tonight,” Wood said. “He was feeling a little under the weather so we didn’t know what we were going to get out of him but he was pitching on pure adrenaline and got it done tonight.”
The Mudcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Dwight Childs.
Delvi Cid, the Mudcats’ ninth batter, led off the third inning with a towering solo home run to left field to give Carolina a 2-0 lead.
Brett Nicholas, who leads the Pelicans with a .292 batting average, drove in Odubel Herrera, who leads Myrtle Beach with 67 runs scored, on a flare to shallow center field in the bottom of the third inning to cut the Pelicans’ deficit in half.
Myrtle Beach took its first lead of the game in the fourth inning after it loaded the bases on two hit batters and one walk with no outs. Vinny DiFazio scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2, and Josh Richmond drove in Chris Grayson on a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Pelicans ahead 3-2.
Myrtle Beach ran away in the bottom of the sixth. Grayson hit a leadoff homer to right field that hit the roof of the Pelicans clubhouse to give Myrtle Beach a two-run advantage, and Hanser Alberto hit a two-run single to left field to put the Pelicans ahead 6-2. Nicholas drove in Alberto on a single in the next at-bat to give Myrtle Beach a five-run lead.
“Grayson is coming around,” Wood said. “He’s been working his tail off and got a pitch he could drive and didn’t do too much just got the bat head out in front and that sparked the big inning.”
Jon Edwards, who was called up from Class-A short season Spokane on Friday, made his debut for Myrtle Beach and struck out the three batters he faced in one frame. Francisco Mendoza struck out two in the ninth inning. Reyes tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen and struck out four as he picked up his seventh hold and lowered his ERA to 2.63 ERA.
“I knew we had a lot of strikeouts,” Reyes said. “Whenever Luke pitches, strikeouts come in bunches. I felt good and Edwards came in there in his first appearance and struck out the side so it was good to see.”
Said Wood: “Our bullpen was great. Jimmy Reyes came in and found the zone and was good. We didn’t know what Edwards had but it was good to see the performance out of him and it was good to see Mendoza come in and shut it down.”
Pelicans hurler Randy Henry was taken out of Friday’s game with an injury to his right shoulder, and Wood is unsure of his status.
“He’s just day-to-day right now,” Wood said. “He’s not on the [disabled list], I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen.”
The Pelicans now lead the series 2-1, and will try to put away the Mudcats in both teams’ season series finale at 6:05 p.m. Sunday.
“I know that just about every game we’ve played with them has been pretty good,” Wood said. “These guys are a good young team, coached really well and they play the game the right way. They play hard and it’s kind of fun to play these guys as many times as we do and hopefully we’ll come out on top [Sunday].”
Contact MAX McKINNON at 444-1767.