The Myrtle Beach Pelicans looked to be on their way to a second straight win to open the season Saturday night as they entered the ninth inning with a one-run lead.
But Wilmington's Rey Navarro led off the ninth with a home run through the rain and over the right-center field fence off Myrtle Beach reliever Trevor Hurley to tie the game at 5-5.
And that's as far as this one would get.
Hurley had a 3-2 count on the next hitter - Nick Francis - when the umpires sent the players off the field and called for the tarp to be rolled out as lightning flashed in the sky and the rain continued to pour down.
It was later announced that the game had been suspended for the evening and would resume today at 2 p.m., followed by the series finale between the Pelicans and Blue Rocks.
Myrtle Beach had rallied from 4-1 deficit earlier in the evening as Chris McGuinness rocketed a two-out RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth and Mike Olt followed with a three-run home run to left-center field to give the Pelicans a 5-4 lead that lasted until the top of the ninth.
Travis Adair also hit a home run for Myrtle Beach. His solo shot in the bottom of the second was just his third career home run in 173 minor league games and 624 at-bats.
Erlin up and down
As far as big league prospects go, left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin is the most notable player on the Pelicans roster to start this season.
As far as debuts go, though, his first Carolina League start was rather nondescript.
Erlin posted a nice 6-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and showed the ability to come up with clutch Ks in key moments, but that wasn't enough to prevent Wilmington from collecting three runs (all earned) and five hits through four innings before chasing Erlin from the game.
Coming into the season, Baseball America ranked Erlin the second-best lefty and fourth-best prospect overall in the Texas Rangers' minor league system. A third-round draft pick in 2009, he posted a 2.12 earned-run average and a sterling 125-to-17 K-to-BB ratio at Class A Hickory last season.
And he showed some of that promise Saturday for the Pelicans - despite his overall line.
After yielding hits to three of the first four batters he faced as Wilmington grabbed a quick 1-0 lead, Erlin stranded runners on second and third by inducing a short pop-up and striking out Tim Ferguson to end the top of the first.
After a clean second inning, he overcame two botched pickoff attempts in the third - McGuinness dropped the throw on one attempt to first base and threw high to second on the other, allowing two stolen bases. That put runners at second and third with one out, but Erlin rallied to strike out Francis and get John Whittleman to line out to center field to escape the inning unscathed.
A two-run homer from Blue Rocks first baseman Joey Lewis in the fourth, though, grew the Pelicans' early deficit and ultimately led to an early night's work for Erlin.