The last time the Blue Rocks visited Myrtle Beach, the Pelicans were capping a season-opening series sweep of Wilmington and starting what appeared to be a promising 2010 for the home team.
What a difference seven weeks have made.
The Blue Rocks beat the Pelicans 4-3 on Friday night at BB&T Coastal Field, putting a punctuation mark on what has been the most miserable month-and-a-half stretch in the franchise's 12-year history.
After starting the season 3-0, the Pelicans lost for the 34th time in their last 45 games since their sweep of the Blue Rocks (22-26), who have now won four straight over Myrtle Beach (14-34).
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Friday night's tough loss tells the story of the Pelicans' campaign since the season-opening series. After Myrtle Beach battled back to tie the game, Blue Rocks infielder Eddie Prasch's RBI single in the eighth inning dealt the Pelicans another difficult defeat.
Like many of the Pelicans' 12 losses in their last 15 outings, this was one that could have gone the other way. Myrtle Beach led early but didn't have the pitching or hitting to hold on in the end.
Cole Miles almost singlehandedly kept the Pelicans in the ballgame by robbing Wilmington's Salvador Perez of a three-run homer with a leaping catch at the left-field wall in the second that preserved a scoreless tie. Miles broke it in the fourth after leading off with a triple off the center-field wall.
The Pelicans got some help from the Blue Rocks' battery exchange in the fourth. Miles scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by starter Tim Melville, then Dan Nelson made it 2-0 by doubling and eventually scoring on a passed ball by Perez.
The Blue Rocks got the runs back and more in the sixth when Jamie Romak painted the third-base line with an RBI double and later scored on Perez's sacrifice fly to tie the score. Rey Navarro gave Wilmington its first lead of the game at 3-2 with an RBI single, but it didn't last for long.
Myrtle Beach's L.V. Ware led off the sixth with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Miles moved him to third on a sac bunt and Nelson brought him home with an RBI single to tie it at 3.
Myrtle Beach starter Brett Oberholtzer exited after seven solid innings of work, putting his fate in the hands of the troubled bullpen. Yelier Castro (2-2) took the loss after allowing a leadoff single in the eighth to Romak, who went 3-for-4 on the night.
Romak advanced to second when Pelicans second baseman Travis Jones was unable to get a ground ball out of his glove and reached third on a fielder's choice. Romak scored the game-winner on Prasch's two-out single.
Of course, these aren't the same Pelicans who started the season by sweeping the Blue Rocks. A slew of transactions and the loss of three players to suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program have changed the face of the team. Only 11 players from the Opening Day 25-man roster are still with the team.
The Pelicans play host to the Blue Rocks again tonight at 7:05 and close out the series Sunday night at 6.