After losing back-to-back shutouts to Frederick, Myrtle Beachs offense rose to the occasion on Sunday in a 7-4 win over the Keys on Sunday at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
Starting pitcher Sam Wolff was solid and seven different Pelicans tallied hits as Myrtle Beach avoided a series sweep and stopped a 20-inning scoring drought that stretched back to Thursday.
We got some good at-bats tonight, Pelicans manager Joe Mikulik said. Weve had good offense all year. You go through a lull every once in a while, but the way we came back and responded tonight was a good sign.
Chris Garia led off the bottom of the first with an infield single and took second on a wild pitch by Keys starter Brady Wager before Wager walked Preston Beck.
Garia scored on a fly-ball single to left by Christopher Bostick, and Beck and Bostick came home on Nick Vickersons line-drive double to left to give Myrtle Beach a 3-0 lead.
The Pelicans (41-20) added a pair of runs in the fifth, starting when Luis Mendez reached safely on an infield single, then took second on a throwing error by Keys (27-34) shortstop Adrian Marin and third on a sacrifice groundout by Kevin Torres. Wager then walked Garia, and Mendez and Garia both scored on a double by Jorge Alfaro.
Wolff (6-3) earned the win with six scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits and two walks with no strikeouts.
He got into trouble in the top of the sixth, starting when he walked leadoff batter Jason Esposito, who reached second base on a Sammie Starr groundout. Lucas Herbst then singled, but Wolff got Tucker Nathans to fly out to center and Creede Simpson grounded into a force out to end the threat.
Wager (2-5) got into more trouble against a pair of Pelicans newcomers in the bottom of the sixth when he walked Nick Vickerson, who joined the Pelicans from Hickory (N.C.) on Sunday, and gave up a single to Chris Grayson, who came down from Double-A Frisco.
Wager was replaced by right-hander Matt Hauser, who struck out Mendez for the first out. Torres sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, but Hauser got Garia to fly out to right to get Frederick out of the jam.
Wolff was replaced by Sam Stafford to start the seventh.
Stafford walked Michael Burgess, who took second on a passed ball and scored on a Marin liner to center to get the Keys on the board.
Myrtle Beach added to the total in the bottom of the seventh when Hauser walked Alfaro, who stole second, then came home on Preston Becks sixth home run of the season, a one-out shot over the wall in center field for a 7-1 Myrtle Beach lead.
The Keys added three runs in the ninth when Zane Chavez drove a two-run home run into the Myrtle Beach bullpen beyond the right field wall, followed by a solo home run by Brenden Webb to cut the Myrtle Beach lead to three.
Stafford gave up four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings, and Abel De Los Santos earned the games final out and the save, his fourth.
Myrtle Beach played without a pair of the top prospects in the Texas Rangers farm system as slugger Joey Gallo and pitcher Alex Gonzalez were called up to Double-A Frisco on Sunday.
Gonzalez, the Rangers first-round draft pick in 2013, posted a 5-2 record with 2.62 ERA with the Pelicans.
Gallo led the Carolina League in five offensive categories, including homers (21), RBIs (50) and runs scored (53).
But Gallo wasnt the only reason Myrtle Beach cruised to the Carolina Leagues Southern Division first-half title, Mikulik said.
All year it looks like its been one guy or two guys, but its been this whole club putting up numbers, Mikulik said. Weve got some guys contributing from top to bottom. Not too many guys werent hitting. We had some guys putting together some pretty good first halves. Then with the pitching weve had, thats why weve been where were at. These guys will keep fighting, keep finding ways. Thats the big thing about this club.
The Pelicans return to action Monday at 7:05 p.m. to kick off a three-game home series against Lynchburg. Jason Knapp (1-1, 2.00 ERA) is scheduled to make the start for Myrtle Beach against Greg Ross (4-2, 3.36) for the Hillcats.