Kinston jumped out to an early lead and pulled away from there as Myrtle Beach lost 9-2 Sunday night at BB&T Coastal Field in a rain-shortened game to stay in a tie with the Indians for third place in the Carolina League's Southern Division with 13 regular season games to play.
The game was called with one out and the bases loaded for Kinston in the top of the seventh inning.
With the loss, the Pelicans (53-73 overall, 27-30 second half) and Indians (62-63, 26-29) are two games behind division leading Winston-Salem (70-53, 27-26), which topped Potomac 9-8 in an early game on Sunday.
Salem (68-54, 26-26) topped Wilmington 4-1 on Sunday to hold on to second place, a game-and-a-half ahead of Myrtle Beach and Kinston and a half-game behind Winston-Salem.
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With playoff spots going to the division winners from the first and second half, Winston-Salem (70-53, 27-26) is already in the postseason. If the Dash win the second half as well, they would face the second-place team from the Southern Division in the first round.
So while a division title would be ideal, a second-place finish in the second half would get Myrtle Beach (53-74, 27-30) into the playoffs for the first time since they lost the Mills Cup championship series to Potomac in 2008.
With 13 games left on the regular season schedule, the Pelicans have seven meetings upcoming with the two teams ahead of them in the Southern Division.
Myrtle Beach gets a day off today before beginning a three-game home set on Tuesday against Salem before setting off on a seven-game road trip that starts with a three-game series at Winston-Salem.
Frederick (68-57, 27-28) won the Northern Division's first half title, and Potomac (61-63), which has the best second-half record in the league at 30-24, leads the second-half standings and is a game-and-half ahead of Wilmington (61-64, 29-26).
The Indians got off to a quick start, plating four runs in the first inning, keyed by RBI sac flies from Chun-Hsiu Chen and Kyle Bellows and a two-RBI double to the wall in left field by Juan Diaz.
Myrtle Beach got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Mycal Jones led off with a double, stole third and scored on a Mike Jones single. The Pelicans added another run in the bottom of the fifth when Sean McGill was hit by a pitch, Mycal Jones and L.V. Ware hit back-to-back infield singles and McGill came in on a throwing error on Ware's hit to cut the lead in half as the rain started to fall.
Kinston added to its margin in the top of the sixth when Donnie Webb and Alex Castillo singled and moved ahead on a sac bunt by Bo Greenwell.
Pelicans starter Zeke Spruill then gave way to Chad Rogers, who got Karexon Sanchez to hit a grounder to Mycal Jones at short, but McGill couldn't handle the throw to the plate as Mycal Jones tried to gun down Webb at home, and Castillo scored as McGill chased the ball to the backstop.
Rogers walked Jeremie Tice and Chen to load the bases, and Abner Abreu singled to score Sanchez and Tice to extend the lead to 8-2.
Kinston added another run in the top of the seventh when Webb was hit by a pitch, went to third on a Castillo double and scored on a Greenwell single.
Sanchez followed that with a single as Kinston loaded the bases with one out before the teams headed to their clubhouses to wait out the rain, which continued to fall steadily until it was decided that the game would stand as is.