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Spruill continues second-half surge as Pelicans win

Pelicans right-hander Zeke Spruill had plenty of time this summer to analyze his early season struggles while missing two and a half months with a broken hand.

Enough time, it seems, to rediscover the form that made him a second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2008 and an instant success in his first two minor league seasons.

Since returning to the mound for the Pelicans in early July, Spruill has a sterling 2.51 ERA in 321/3 innings and is 3-0 in his last four starts after leading Myrtle Beach to an 8-4 victory Thursday night over the Frederick Keys before 5,265 fans at BB&T Coastal Field.

Not bad for a guy who had allowed 12 earned runs in 81/3 innings back in April before breaking his hand.

Spruill scattered eight hits over six innings Thursday and had limited Frederick to one run - a deep Ronnie Welty home run in the top of the first - before running into trouble in the seventh. He was removed from the game after yielding back-to-back hits to start the inning, and both runners went on to score off Pelicans reliever Tommy Palica.

Nonetheless, it's another encouraging outing in a redeeming second half for Spruill.

That's also three straight wins for Myrtle Beach, which took three of four from Frederick to improve to 50-67 overall and 24-23 in the second half. The Pelicans remain in the thick of the hunt for a second-half playoff berth.

As for Spruill, he found himself in trouble in the fifth and sixth innings, as well, but effectively worked out of jams both times.

In the top of the fifth, he stranded the bases loaded by getting Miguel Abreu to pop out to right field for the third out. And in the sixth, Billy Rowell hit a leadoff double for Frederick, but Spruill retired the next three batters - two on strikeouts - to strand Rowell at third.

The seventh was a different story.

Spruill was lifted from the game after allowing a single to Kyle Hudson and a double to Luis Bernardo. The Keys went on to score three runs in the inning and drew to within 5-4 on Buck Britton's RBI single - a run charged to Palica.

But that's as close as it got as the Pelicans answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.

Myrtle Beach continued its recent power surge with three home runs Thursday. Second baseman Jordan Kreke hit a solo shot in the bottom of the third inning for his second homer this season in 101 games between Class-A Rome and Myrtle Beach. Catcher Matt Kennelly sparked a two-run sixth for the Pelicans with a solo homer - his third round-tripper of the season - over the leftfield foul pole.

And first baseman Mike Jones crushed his fifth homer of the year down the right-field line to leadoff the seventh and spark a three-run inning as the Pelicans pulled away again - this time for good.

NOTES

The Pelicans received right-handed pitcher Andrew Wilson, who was promoted from Class-A Rome on Thursday. Wilson posted a 2.61 ERA in 41.1 innings over 24 games for Rome. ... Leftfielder Gerry Rodriguez had to leave the game after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning Thursday.

FrederickAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Hoes 2B

5

0

1

1

0

1

.275

Welty RF

4

1

2

1

0

1

.281

Abreu, M 3B

5

1

1

1

0

1

.278

Rowell DH

4

0

1

0

1

1

.260

Britton, B 1B

4

0

1

1

0

1

.269

Florimon Jr. SS

4

0

0

0

0

0

.282

Stevens, B LF

4

0

2

0

0

1

.227

Hudson CF

4

1

2

0

0

0

.259

Bernardo C

4

1

1

0

0

1

.173

Totals38

4

11

4

1

7

M. BeachAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Jones, My SS

1

1

0

0

4

0

.282

Kreke, J 2B

4

1

1

2

1

1

.256

Nelson 3B

5

0

0

0

0

0

.278

Jones, Mi 1B

4

2

2

1

1

0

.277

Rodriguez, G LF

4

1

2

0

0

0

.245

Johnson, C DH

4

1

1

0

1

1

.333

Sumoza RF

5

0

1

1

0

3

.222

Kennelly, M C

3

1

1

1

1

1

.214

Ware CF

4

1

2

1

0

1

.265

Totals34

8

10

6

8

7

Frederick

100

000

300

--

4

11

1

M. Beach

011

012

30X

--

8

10

0

E --Florimon Jr. (12, throw). LOB--Frederick 9, Myrtle Beach 11. 2B--Stevens, B (8, Spruill), Hudson (15, Spruill), Rowell (20, Spruill), Bernardo (2, Spruill), Abreu, M (11, Palica), Sumoza (7, Moreau), Ware (7, Nery), Rodriguez, G (12, Dowdy). HR--Welty (13, 1st inning off Spruill, 0 on, 1 out), Kreke, J (2, 3rd inning off Moreau, 0 on, 1 out), Kennelly, M (3, 6th inning off Nery, 0 on, 1 out), Jones, Mi (5, 7th inning off Nery, 0 on, 0 out). SB-Jones, My (14, 2nd base off Nery/Bernardo).

Frederick

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Moreau (L, 3-3)

4

4

2

2

3

3

5.29

Nery

2

3

4

3

3

1

4.50

Dowdy

0.2

3

2

2

1

2

9.53

Bordes

1.1

0

0

0

1

1

2.70

M. Beach

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Spruill (W, 3-2)

6

8

3

3

0

5

4.65

Palica (H, 1)

1

2

1

1

1

0

3.38

Rodgers

2

1

0

0

0

2

3.98

WP--Nery, Dowdy 2. HBP --Rodriguez, G (by Bordes), Welty (by Spruill). Umpires--Home, Mike Walsh; First, Tim Rosso. T--3:09. A--5,265.

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