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Pelicans beat Aviators 7-5 in wild series opener

July 10, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

ROBSTOWN, TX – In a game that featured three home runs, a bench-clearing incident, an ejection that led to helmets, baseballs and bases being thrown onto the field as well as plenty of late-inning dramatics, the Pensacola Pelicans scored two runs in the 9th inning to top the Coastal Bend Aviators in front of 2,967 Friday night at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, Texas…Pensacola winning their fifth straight while handing the Coastal Bend their third straight defeat.

The Aviators jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when Carlos Adolfo led off the inning with a single and Edwin Maldonado followed with his third home run of the year, a line shot over the left field wall. But righthander Derell McCall, making his Pelicans debut, responded by shutting down the Coastal Bend offense over the next five innings, retiring 18 of the next 19 batters he faced. Pensacola tied the game with two runs in the 3rd – Jose Salas scoring on a throwing error by Aviators right fielder Marcus Knight and Andy Wilson coming home on a Carlos Mendoza RBI single – then jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the 6th – Josey Shannon doubled home Rafael Alvarez; then two batters later Salas socked a two-run homer over the right field wall.

Coastal Bend crept to within 5-3 on a John Ramistella solo homer in the 7th, and then things started to get crazy – Gerardo Casadiego, in relief of McCall, hit Trey Salinas with a pitch and then walked Mike Guerrero. With Knight at the plate, Salinas took off for third, then barreled into Heath Kelly covering the bag…the ball came loose and rolled down the third base line, Salinas scoring to make the score 5-4. After retrieving the loose ball, Casadiego got into a shouting match with the Aviators bench and both benches emptied, and though it took several minutes for the umpires to restore order, no one was ejected.

In the 8th Coastal Bend tied the game when Cris Colon knocked in Adolfo with a clutch two-out double. Colon advanced to third on a wild pitch…then pinch-hitter Bryan Loeb grounded a ball wide of first base. Mike Rodriguez backhanded the ball, and underhanded a throw to pitcher Bubba Dobson covering first base…and though it appeared Loeb had beaten Dobson to the bag, he was called out on a bang-bang play to end the inning. Loeb erupted, drop-kicking his helmet across the field, then after he was ejected he went back to the Aviators dugout, tossing the team’s batting helmets and baseballs onto the field…then pulled the first base bag out of its mooring and dropped it at the feet of umpire Tom Walkoviak.

Pensacola regained the lead in the 9th when, with two aboard, Alvarez hit a rising liner over the head of center fielder Carlos Adolfo, plating Wilson and Joe Espada to put the Pelicans up 7-5. Pensacola reliever Kelvin Mitchell then slammed the door on Coastal Bend, striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th to lock down the victory.

Dobson (5-4) got credit for the victory with Mitchell chalking up his first save of the season; Bubba Makowsky (0-1) suffered the loss for Coastal Bend, who with Friday’s loss dropped to 6-5 in the second half (30-29 overall) and into second place behind Amarillo in the Central Baseball League’s West Division. The East-leading Pelicans improved to 9-3 in the second half and 33-26 on the year. Game two of the series is set for Saturday night, with Mike Smith (7-3) on the mound for the Aviators; Pensacola will counter with righty Trey Stephens (3-6).

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