Christopher Bostick has felt right at home at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark this week.
Unfortunately for Myrtle Beach, he’s in the visiting dugout.
The second baseman, who played the entire 2014 season with the Pelicans before being traded to the Washington Nationals organization in the offseason, knocked in the game’s only run Sunday night in a 1-0 Potomac win to continue a big week.
“It’s been nice being back,” Bostick said. “They’ve been very welcoming and it’s been nice to see some familiar faces with the fans and staff that work here. It’s my first experience with anything like this, so it’s kind of cool to come back and be welcomed back to a place that you’ve played and have people be happy to see you. It’s kind of a cool experience.”
Bostick hit his first two home runs of the season in losses the first two games of the series – he homered 11 times as a Pelican last year, including six times at Pelicans Ballpark – and has five hits in the first three games of Potomac’s first series of the season in Myrtle Beach.
His most impactful at-bat Sunday didn’t involve a hit. Bostick hit a sacrifice fly to the left field wall in the third inning that scored Narciso Mesa, who had tripled with one out.
Bostick played all of the 2014 season in Myrtle Beach before being traded by the Texas Rangers to Washington last year along with Abel de los Santos for pitcher Ross Detwiler. He batted .251 last year in Myrtle Beach and is batting .241 this season.
Bostick didn’t credit a comfort level at TicketReturn.com Field for his resurgence at the plate.
“I don’t think I’d really attribute it to being comfortable hitting here, I think it’s just being comfortable in general,” he said. “I started off kind of slow and I’ve been picking it up as of late, making some adjustments with the coaches and doing some things to help me stay on the ball and be a little more consistent. It’s been snowballing and getting a little bit better and hopefully I can continue to improve”
Myrtle Beach’s bats went silent Sunday. After recording at least 10 hits in four straight games and seven of eight contests, Myrtle Beach was held to five hits.
The Pelicans had runners reach second base in just two innings – the fourth and eighth – and they did not advance.
Nationals starting pitcher Nick Pivetta improved to 3-3 and lowered his impressive ERA to 1.41, which places him firmly in the top five in the Carolina League. In six innings, he allowed three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Myrtle Beach managed a pair of hits off two relievers in the final three innings.
The Pelicans got two runners on with two outs in the eighth on a single by Chesny Young and walk by Pin-Chieh Chen, but Jeimer Candelario, who hit two home runs Saturday night, grounded to shortstop to end the threat.
The Pelicans got a strong outing of their own from right-handed starter Tyler Skulina, who gave up just one run in the third inning in six innings of work, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out six to lower his ERA to 4.25.
He stranded runners in scoring position in the second and fourth innings that each reached second base with no outs.
Spencer Kieboom doubled to the right field corner to open the second inning but was stranded at second base when Skulina retired the next three batters on a pair of strikeouts and groundout to first base.
In the fourth, Isaac Ballou singled and stole second with no outs before Skulina enticed a popout and a double-play grounder following a one-out walk.
Reliever James Pugliese also stranded runners in scoring position in his two innings of work. He allowed a runner to reach second base with one out in the seventh on a single and stolen base but he recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the half inning. Bostick reached second with no outs in the eighth on a single and stole base but was stranded after a pair of flyouts and groundout following a walk.
Myrtle Beach (26-15) entered Sunday’s game with a 6 ½-game lead in the Carolina League’s Southern Division.
The Pelicans face perhaps the best pitching prospect in the Carolina League at 6 p.m. Monday in the finale of both a four-game series against the Nationals and seven-game homestand.
Lucas Giolito was a first-round draft pick in 2012 prior to having Tommy John surgery and has a 1-2 record and 4.67 ERA in three starts. He has 25 strikeouts and just three walks in 17.1 innings.