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Fireflies Overcome Eight Errors to Snap Pelicans’ Winning Streak

(Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
April 28, 2022

By Sam Weiderhaft

By Sam Weiderhaft

In a sloppy game by both teams, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans saw their seven-game winning snap with a 7-6 loss to the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday night. Myrtle Beach dropped to 12-6 on the season while Columbia moved up to 7-11 with their first win in the series. The seven-game winning streak by the Pelicans matches their longest from last season.

For the first time this season, the Pelicans homered in their home ballpark as Ethan Hearn (2-5, HR, RBI, 2 R) hit an opposite-field shot in the ninth inning. Peter Matt (2-5, RBI, R) logged a multi-hit game while Pete Crow-Armstrong (2-4, R, BB) extended his on-base streak to 12 games. The Birds left 11 runners on base and cooled off with runners in scoring position, finishing 1-for-15.

Chase Watkins (0-1) took the loss after sacrificing five runs with three earned across 2 1/3 innings. Starting pitcher Richard Gallardo was solid through five innings with one unearned run off five hits and two walks while striking out five. The Pelican defense committed four errors for the game with Liam Spence and Hearn both committing two.

Columbia tallied 13 hits for the game to tie a season-high. Darryl Collins (4-5, 2 2B, RBI) led the visitors with four hits and Wilmin Candelario (3-5, 2 RBI, R) brought a pair of runs in. River Town (2-4, 2B, RBI, R) had a solid performance from the leadoff spot. As a team, the Fireflies went 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Heribert Garcia (2-1) earned the win with 3 1/3 innings of work out of the bullpen with four runs, three earned off seven hits out of the bullpen. Garcia struck out only one and walked one in his outing. Luis Barroso took the first save of the season for the Fireflies by closing out the final 1 2/3 innings. Barroso gave up the solo homer to Hearn with three strikeouts to one walk. The Fireflies committed a season-high eight errors, the most by a Minor League team this season. Candelario committed three at short to lead the team.

Myrtle Beach took an early lead with a run in the bottom of the second. Miguel Fabrizio hit a one-out single to right-center and moved to second base on Erick Pena’s wild throw in from the outfield. Matt followed with a hit to Candelario at short and reached on the first throwing error by the shortstop as Fabrizio scored.

The first run by Columbia came in the top of the fourth. Pena popped up to Spence at short and didn’t stop running after Spence dropped the ball for an error. Pena got to second base on the play. After Rubendy Jaquez grounded out, Candelario singled to left-center to score Pena to tie the game 1-1.

Two runs came across in the bottom of the sixth to give the Pelicans the lead back. Kevin Alcantara was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Hearn beat out a bunt single on the right side to put two runners on with nobody out. Garcia balked to advance both runners and Alcantara scored on a Fabrizio ground out to second. With Hearn on third, Matt pulled a single to right-center to expand the Myrtle Beach lead to 3-1.

The Fireflies got one back in the top of the seventh as Josh Rivera struck out swinging but got to first on a throwing error by Hearn on the dropped third strike. Town bunted Rivera to second and Collins put runners on the corners with an infield single to short. With two outs, Carter Jensen hit a single to right field to score Rivera and cut the lead to 3-2.

It was a quick response for the Pelicans as they matched Columbia’s run in their half of the seventh. Crow-Armstrong led off with a single and moved to second on Town’s throwing error from right field. Garcia then tried to pick off Crow-Armstrong but threw the ball into center field as Crow-Armstrong advanced to third. Juan Mora followed with a chopper to third that was thrown wild to first by Rubendy Jaquez as Crow-Armstrong scored to make it a 4-2 Birds lead.

The momentum switched in the top of the eighth as four runs came in for Columbia to take their first lead of the game. Jaquez and Candelario hit back-to-back singles with one out. With Rivera batting, Jaquez stole third and came home on Hearn’s throwing error to third that also brought home Candelario to tie the game. The errors continued as Rivera reached on Spence’s throwing error at shortstop. He came home on Town’s double to left-center to give Columbia a 5-4 lead. Collins followed with another double off new pitcher Tyler Santana to extend the Fireflies lead to 6-4.

Myrtle Beach inched closer with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Matt started with a single to left-center and moved to third on Ezequiel Pagan’s single. Crow-Armstrong walked with one out to load the bases. Following Mora’s strikeout for the second out, James Triantos worked a walk to bring across one run. The bases were left loaded on Alcantara’s strikeout to end the inning.

One insurance run came across in the Fireflies half of the ninth. Jaquez singled with two outs and moved to second on a wild pitch by Santana. After stealing third, Jaquez scored on Candelario’s single up the middle.

Hearn sparked a late rally with a solo home run to left field as the first batter of the bottom of the ninth to make it 7-6 Columbia. The following three batters were retired by Barroso to end the game.

The Pelicans will take their 2-1 series lead to Friday night for game four. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.