What a difference a day makes.
A day after giving up 10 hits to Lynchburg and struggling to connect consistently at the plate, Myrtle Beach got a pitching gem from Brett Oberholtzer and hammered out nine hits in an 8-3 over the Hillcats on Sunday night at BB&T Coastal Field.
Oberholtzer was masterful on the mound with 12 strikeouts and no walks in 81/3 innings, allowing three runs - none earned - on three hits.
"Once you catch a groove as a pitcher, you just kind of keep going with it. I felt like I did that today," Oberholtzer said. "I usually throw strikes and I pound the zone. That's what I did today, more so than ever."
He retired the Hillcats in order in the second, third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings, and the Hillcats only got three runners on base safely through the first eight innings. Neftali Soto, who hit two homers against the Pelicans on Saturday, reached on a fielding error by Philip Gosselin in the first, Didi Gregorius singled in the fourth and was hit by a pitch in the sixth.
Lynchburg finally got to Oberholtzer in the top of the ninth and trailing 8-0, starting when Gregorius reached on Gosselin's second error of the night at second. Soto followed with a single and Gregorius scored on a Henry Rodriguez single, which brought Oberholtzer's night to an end.
"Any time I can take my team deep in a ballgame it's always great. ... I stayed with it, kept throwing strikes throughout the game," Oberholtzer said. "Everybody wants to finish strong to end the season, and that was my last game, so I felt like I did that."
Chad Rogers came in for Oberholtzer and got Cameron Satterwhite swinging, but Josh Fellhauer reached on Gosselin's third error, which also let Soto score. A single from Kevyn Feiner scored Rodriguez for the game's final run.
"[Oberholtzer] had three major-league pitches going and did a tremendous job," Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler said. "I tried to let him finish the game, but I wasn't going to take him over his pitch count. He was a little bit under, but once the run was given up, he had done his job."
The three errors for Gosselin did little to tarnish the win or Wheeler's opinion of his second baseman, a fifth-round pick out of Virginia in this year's draft and a two-time All-ACC first team pick who homered off Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
"Goose is a solid player. You've got to remember that this guy has been going strong since January. He might be a little tired, and that's no excuse, but he gives it everything he's got, and that's all you can ask."
Gosselin, who was called up from low-A Rome on Aug. 31, led off the bottom of the first with a single and went to second on Jordan Kreke's fielder's choice. Gerry Rodriguez walked and Mike Jones followed with a single that scored Gosselin and moved Jones to third. Cody Johnson walked, and then Rodriguez scored on a fielder's choice from Samuel Sime to put Myrtle Beach up 2-0.
After going down in order in the second and third innings, the Pelicans' offense exploded in the fourth, starting when Cody Johnson walked before Sime drove his seventh home run of the season over the wall in left field.
A Chris Curley single spelled the end of the night for Hillcats starter Pedro Villareal, who was replaced by Ezequiel Infante, but Infante quickly gave up an infield single to Luis Sumoza before getting Braeden Schlehuber to fly out. Gosselin's sac hit advanced Curley to third and Sumoza to second, and both came home on Kreke's double to center field. Kreke then scored on a Rodriguez single to give Myrtle Beach a 7-0 edge.
The line on the Pelicans through four innings: seven runs on seven hits from seven different players.
Myrtle Beach tacked on an extra run in the bottom of the seventh when Gerry Rodriguez walked, went to second on a wild pitch, third on a Jones single and scored on a Sime ground out.
With the Pelicans missing out on a playoff berth for the second-straight season for the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons, the 2010 schedule wraps up tonight at 6:05 with the last game of the three-game series with Lynchburg. Cory Rasmus (0-3, 3.72) will start for Myrtle Beach, while Curtis Partch (6-11, 5.17) will take the mound for the Hillcats.