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Pelicans fall to Nationals in another heartbreaker

Rocket Wheeler has seen too many of these games.

A Pelicans pitcher has one bad inning on the mound, and the offense can't find a way to minimize the damage.

"We brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning again," Wheeler said after Myrtle Beach fell 4-3 to Potomac on Sunday. "But we gotta get to the point where when we've got a job to do, we've got to do that job, whatever that job is. Get the guy in and quit swinging for the fences and take our base hits. There's times when we go up to the plate and we swing for the fences."

The Pelicans offense appeared to do that only sporadically Sunday. Leadoff hitter Mycal Jones started off the bottom of the first by getting hit by a pitch. He then stole second, and one batter later he scored on Dan Nelson's RBI single.

In the second, Jones drove in teammate Matt Kennelly with an RBI single. Jones added a walk in the fourth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

But that sort of baseball doesn't happen enough for Wheeler, and the players know it.

"He's been preaching it all season," Jones said. "He'll see a guy get up there and try to hit a home run. We're down by two runs, and he'll try to hit a three-run home run with nobody on base -- which isn't possible. So, just getting guys on base, moving them over, doing small things."

The offense wasn't able to do that against the Nationals. It left starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer on the hook for his one bad inning.

After throwing three perfect innings to start the game, he was lit up in the fourth, surrendering four runs on five hits.

Sunday's loss leaves the Pelicans with 27 regular-season games remaining. In that time, Myrtle Beach (21-22 in the second half) will have to make up a two-game deficit to Salem.

"I hope we never get to the point where we're looking at other teams," Jones said. "I hope we get to the point where we go out and just handle our business and not worry about other teams. If we go out and win games, the rest will take care of itself."

Noted

Second baseman Jordan Kreke started the game but was pulled in the top of the third inning due to cramping. Kreke grounded into a double play in the first inning, and he was doing little more than a light jog. Wheeler said the move was a precaution. ... Catcher Matt Kennelly had his first multi-hit game since May 31, a string of 29 games.

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