A decision to pitch around Frederick's No. 3 hitter to go after cleanup man Miguel Abreu failed on Monday night when Abreu's two-run double broke a 3-3 tie as Myrtle Beach fell to the Keys 6-3 at BB&T Coastal Field.
Xavier Avery led off the top of the eighth inning with a single off reliever Chad Rogers and took second on a Kyle Hudson sac bunt to bring up Ronnie Welty, the No.3 hitter in the Keys' lineup who had already gone 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the game.
The call was made for Rogers to intentionally walk Welty to help set up a double play possibility, then give way to Luis Avilan, who would face Abreu, who was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI already.
The plan backfired.
Avilan gave up Abreu's two-RBI double to left field to give the Keys (63-50 overall, 22-21 second half) a 5-3 lead. Abreu scored on an L.J. Hoes single for the game's final run.
"I know [Abreu] has pulled a lot of balls earlier this year against us," Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler said. "He was in this league last year, and he's known to hit a ground ball to the right side. That's what I brought [Avilan] in for was to get that ground ball double play.
"Welty's leading the league in RBIs. He got one already tonight, so you set up for the double play, and hopefully you get the ground ball and we turn it. It didn't work. A curve ball and he flipped it down the left field line. If he bounces it or strikes him out, nothing is said about it," Wheeler said.
Frederick scored first in the top of the first when Welty hit a two-out double and came home on an Abreu single.
It was the first time this season that Clemens had given up a first-inning run.Clemens was solid, but didn't match his last start, a five-inning, one hit, nine strikeout effort last week against Kinston, which was his second five-inning, one-hit effort in his three starts this season.
He went five innings again on Monday, allowing five hits and only one earned run with a pair of strikeouts and a walk before being replaced by Chad Rogers to start the sixth.
Clemens' ERA continued to fall. He came into the game at 3.15 for the season, and it dropped to 3.02. Clemens' ERA is 2.15 since the All-Star break.
Clemens, who was making his fourth start of the season to go with 18 appearances in relief, still couldn't get his first win of the season as Rogers walked Hudson, who scored on a one-out single by Abreu as Frederick tied the game at 3 in the top of the sixth.
It was the third straight loss for the Pelicans following stretch in which the team had won six of eight and moved into the lead in the Carolina League's Southern Division. Myrtle Beach is third in the division, two game behind Salem, which lost to Kinston 5-2 on Monday.
Game 2 of the four-game set is today at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Matt Crim (7-9, 4.80) will make the start for Myrtle Beach. He will face right hander Luis Noel (3-1, 5.47).