Myrtle Beach got back-to-back triples during a four-run sixth inning to pull away from Lynchburg in a 5-0 win on Monday at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Monday night.
The victory kept the Pelicans (42-20) on pace for a record-setting start to the season. With six games left before the All-Star break, Myrtle Beach needs just three wins to match the best first-half start in franchise history of 45 wins, set by the 2008 team.
With his team nursing a 1-0 lead, Myrtle Beach’s Jorge Alfaro walked to start the bottom of the sixth and went to second on a Preston Beck single. That brought up David Lyon, who tripled to the wall in right, driving home Alfaro and Beck. Alfaro then scored on Christopher Bostick’s triple to right, and Bostick came home on Chris Graysan’s sacrifice fly to left to give Myrtle Beach a 5-0 edge.
Alex Claudio (4-0) earned the win, striking out three and walking two while scattering six hits over five scoreless innings.
Greg Ross (4-3) took the loss for the Hillcats. Ross went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits with a strikeout and three walks. He was replaced by Zach Jadofsky, who struck out two in 1 2/3 innings.
Lynchburg (32-32) threatened early on, beginning when Kyle Wren reached on a bunt with one out and took second on a Nick Vickerson throwing error. David Nick singled to right, but Claudio got Levi Hyams to ground into a double play.
Grayson reached on an infield single with two out in the bottom of the second inning for Myrtle Beach’s first hit, then stole second, but the threat ended when Kevin Torres grounded out.
In the fourth inning Lynchburg’s Kevin Ahrens reached second when his blooper to right field landed fair then hopped out of play, took third on a Daniel Carroll single, but was caught out at home on Daniel Castro’s attempt at a sacrifice bunt. Claudio then struck out Edison Sanchez to end the inning and strand a pair of Hillcats.
The Pelicans got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, starting when Beck was walked with one out. Lyon reached safely and Beck made it to third on hard chopper to first that was misplayed by Sanchez. Bostick then reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Beck but got Lyon out at second.
The Hillcats tried to answer in the top of the fifth, starting when Anthony Nunez walked and advanced on a Jose Peraza infield single, but Claudio got Wren to fly out and Nick to hit into a double play.
That was the story for Lynchburg throughout the game as the Hillcats went 2-for-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position and stranded eight base runners. Myrtle Beach left six runners on base.
Claudio was replaced by Justin Sprenger, who retired the Hillcats in order in the top of the sixth. Sprenger put in three innings of hit-less relief with two strikeouts and a pair of walks before being lifted for Will Lamb to start the ninth.
Lamb closed out the game easily, mixing high-90s power with tricky off-speed pitches to strike out two of the three batters he faced.
Game 2 of the three-game series with Lynchburg is Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Jarrett Miller (2-6, 4.60 ERA) is expected to make the start for the Hillcats. Myrtle Beach had yet to announce its starter as of Monday night.