The holiday weekend started early on Wednesday night as Winston-Salem topped Myrtle Beach 5-1 in a game filled with on-field fireworks at TicketReturn.Com Field inside Pelicans Ballpark.
The game featured a homer from a familiar name, an ejection and a pair of costly bumbles in front of a standing-room only crowd as the Dash (38-45) evened the three game series and beat the Pelicans (52-29) for just the second time this season.
Former Coastal Carolina standout Jacob May welcomed himself back to the beach with style, stroking the second pitch of the game over the wall in left center for his first home run of the season for Winston-Salem.
Myrtle Beach answered in the bottom of the second when Preston Beck led off with a double and scored on Christopher Bostick’s two-out single. Bostick would reach second on an error, but the inning ended when Kevin Torres struck out.
Things got really interesting in the fourth inning. Joey DeMichele led off with a single for the Dash, reached third on a Keon Barnum single, and scored on a fielder’s choice from Cleuluis Rondon.
An out later, Omar Narvaez singled to right field, and Barnum headed for home. Beck made a strong throw from right field to catcher David Lyon in plenty of time, but Barnum was able to nudge to ball free and score safely to put the Dash ahead 3-1.
The thrills continued in the bottom half of the fourth, starting when the Pelicans’ Jorge Alfaro reached on an infield single that was deflected by Dash pitcher Tyler Danish. Alfaro stole second and went for more when the pitch got past Narvaez behind the plate, but Narvaez was able to scramble and get off a throw to third in time.
Beck walked, then Nick Vickerson roped a long line drive just left of the foul pole in left field. Winston-Salem’s Courtney Hawkins hit the wall hard on the play and went down, but it was ruled a catch and Beck was allowed to tag up and go to second.
Myrtle Beach hitting coach Josue Perez disagreed that the catch was made by Hawkins and entered the field to argue his to point to umpire Erich Bacchus, who quickly ejected Perez from the game.
The Pelicans had a solid chance to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth, starting when Christopher Bostick walked, Torres singled and Chris Grayson reached safely on a bunt to load the bases.
But it fell apart from there. Hanser Alberto grounded into a force that got Bostick out at home but kept the bases loaded.
Kyle Hanson relieved Danish for the Dash, and got Nick Williams to strike out swinging and Alfaro to hit into a force out of Alberto at second.
Pelicans starter Victor Payano gave way to Justin Sprenger to start the seventh. Sprenger walked Narvaez then gave up a single to Buckner before getting a groundout from May that advanced the runners. Keenyn Walker then hit a hard shot at Alberto at shortstop for an infield single, scoring Narvaez and putting the Dash ahead 4-1.
Winston-Salem added another run in the eighth when Jason Coats led off with a double, took second on a DeMichele sacrifice bunt and scored on a Barnum single.
Payano (3-5) took the loss. The lefthander allowed five hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking three.
Danish (2-1), a righthander, scattered six hits while striking out five and walking two in the no decision.
Hansen (5-4) allowed two hits, struck out three and walked one over two innings to get the win. Jose Bautista earned his first hold of the season and Braulio Ortiz threw a hitless ninth.
Myrtle Beach stranded 10 baserunners and went 2 for 13 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The final game of the three-game series is today at 8:05 p.m. and will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
Lefthander Luis Parra (6-4, 4.36 ERA) is scheduled to start for Myrtle Beach. J.B. Wendelken (5-6, 4.33) will make the start for Winston-Salem.