Myrtle Beach Pelicans stay hot as they blast Wilmington

mmckinnon@thesunnews.comApril 20, 2014 

After scoring 11 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Wilmington on Saturday, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans picked up right where they left off Sunday.

The Pelicans scored four runs in the first inning and added three more in the second , cruising to a 7-2 victory over the Blue Rocks at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark to claim the four-game series.

“It’s always big when you score early like that,” Myrtle Beach manager Joe Mikulik said. “Taking a 7-0 lead is huge. I’d like to score some more later but as far as our pitching, they pitched well. But again, any time you can get up 7-0 after the first few innings, it’s big. That was good.”

In his second start of the year, Andrew Faulkner allowed six hits, one walk and one run over six innings, and the lefty picked up his first victory of the season. It was the third quality start in the last five games for Myrtle Beach.

“Faulkner is good,” Mikulik said. “He has worked hard on his breaking ball, which he threw a little more today. He just kept the ball down and pitched well.”

With two more home runs on Sunday, the Pelicans have hit 13 and are now only one back of Potomac for the league lead. They have allowed only one home run in the last 12 games and have the highest differential (plus-9) in the Carolina League.

Nick Williams started the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning, and Royce Bolinger hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the Pelicans’ four-run first inning.

Odubel Herrera hit a sacrifice bunt in the second inning that scored Edwin Garcia to give Myrtle Beach a 5-0 advantage. Then, Chris Bostick extended the Pelicans’ lead as he hit a two-run home run to left field, giving the Pelicans a 7-0 advantage. Myrtle Beach cruised from that point on, allowing just one Wilmington run, which came in the third inning.

“Changeup was just up in the zone and I tried to put a good swing on it,” Bostick said, explaining his home run. “I ended up getting under it and luckily we had the wind working in our favor tonight so it paid off. I don’t hit many home runs so it’s always good to get one.”

Joey Gallo went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. He has reached base safely in every game this season and has hit safely in the last five.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans have won four in a row and 11 of their last 13 since a dismal 0-4 start to the season.

“Things are starting to click,” said Bostick, who finished 2-for-4. “Everyone is working together and making sure we’re not trying to do to much, just staying within ourselves trying to help each other out. Everyone is just clicking as a team.”

Will Lamb struck out two and allowed one hit in one inning out of the bullpen for Myrtle Beach. Alex Claudio walked one and allowed one hit in two innings to close the door on Wilmington. Mikulik said he has faith in his bullpen to get it done every night.

“Now everyone is pitching in and doing their part,” Mikulik said. “Everyone is ready to pitch and we’re confident in that bullpen; we have a lot of weapons.”

Myrtle Beach has found great success against the Blue Rocks this season, winning all six of its contests against them.

“[Wilmington] definitely [has] a good pitching staff and I think we’re doing a good job of getting on top of their starters,” Bostick said. “We’re making good swings and getting their guys out early to get to the bullpen. They also have good hitters to back them up too, but getting out to a lead and putting pressure on them has definitely helped.”

Bostick said the clubhouse morale is high, and he expects it to stay that way.

“We’re having a lot of fun, let’s just put it that way,” he said. “Everyone is playing their role and that kind of propels the team forward. We have good guys in this clubhouse and having a lot of fun and being ready to play at the same time. Everyone is getting along really well and I expect it to be that way for the rest of the season too.”

Myrtle Beach will try to complete a four-game sweep of Wilmington on Monday.

“Just expect to see a lot more of the same,” Bostick said. “We’re looking to be aggressive, put runs on the board and play hard. We have to pressure them and give it everything we got. We’re putting pressure on teams even when it seems like they shouldn’t have pressure.”

Contact MAX MCKINNON at 626-0302.

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