After taking a seven-run lead and turning a triple play Saturday, things were looking good for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
However, Lynchburg stuck around until the end.
The Hillcats cut their deficit to two runs in the eighth inning, but Jose Leclerc shut the door on Lynchburg in the ninth inning as the Pelicans won 8-6 at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
Leclerc picked up his 10th save of the season as he struck out one and scattered two hits in a scoreless ninth inning.
Myrtle Beach turned its triple play in the fourth inning. Joseph Odom grounded the ball to third baseman Luis Mendez who tagged third before firing the ball to second baseman Christopher Bostick, who then tossed it to first baseman Preston Beck for the rare triple play.
The Pelicans got on the board early and often, scoring five runs in the third inning after picking up a run on a catcher Kevin Torres sacrifice fly in the second. First baseman Preston Beck started it off with an RBI double, Beck later scored on a fielding error by first baseman Justin Bloxom, and second baseman Christopher Bostick hit an RBI ground-rule double before Torres drove in two runs to cap the big inning as the Pelicans took a 6-1 lead.
Myrtle Beach added two more runs in the fourth inning as Beck and Lewis Brinson each hit RBI singles to give the Pelicans an 8-1 advantage.
The Hillcats added a run in the fifth inning as Blake Brown scored on an Emerson Landoni force out before scoring two runs in each the seventh and eighth innings to cut Lynchburg's deficit to two runs, but that was as close as the Hillcats would get.
It started with Victor Payano on the mound for Myrtle Beach. Payano, who has given up at least three runs in seven of his last nine outings, made a quality start as he surrendered two earned runs on six hits and three walks in five innings and struck out three for the victory.
Cody Buckel allowed two earned runs on three hits and walked two in 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, and Cody Kendall allowed two runs (one earned) in 1 1/3 innings for Myrtle Beach.
Lynchburg starter Cody Scarpetta (3-3) received the loss as he struck out two and let up two earned runs on six hits and walked three in three innings.
The Pelicans will meet the Hillcats on Sunday in the third game of a four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Myrtle Beach is expected to send Luis Parra (7-4, 4.20) to the mound to face Lynchburg's Daniel Watts (0-2, 5.79). The Pelicans are 9-2 this season against the Hillcats.
Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302.