Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: April 25 vs. Carolina
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans conclude a three-game series at home against the Carolina Mudcats (a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate) with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. In the finale, RHP Erling Moreno (1-2, 13.97 ERA) makes his third start for the Birds against RHP Dylan File (0-3, 5.63 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
BETHENCOURT DELIVERS WALK-OFF SAC FLY FOR BIRDS
Jhonny Bethencourt whacked a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Mudcats on Wednesday from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. Trailing 2-1 into the ninth, the Birds tied the game up when Aramis Ademan singled home Yeiler Peguero before Bethencourts' sac fly plated Cam Balego to win the game. Jesus Camargo (1-0) earned the win with his two scoreless innings out of the bullpen while Oscar De La Cruz threw six solid innings, striking out eight in his start.
RUN, PELICANS, RUN
Following their two swipes on Tuesday, the Pelicans pace the Carolina League with 25 stolen bases on the year. The last time the Birds led the league in steals was their last season as a Rangers affiliate in 2014. That year, they swiped 154 bags. Zach Davis leads the way with five stolen bases while D.J. Wilson, Carlos Sepulveda and Jimmy Herron are all tied for second with four apiece. Davis' five stolen bags are tied for third in the league.
THREE IS A MAGIC NUMBER, BUT SO IS FIVE
Going five innings seems to be the key for Pelicans starters in the beginning of the season. In the first 20 games, the Birds starter has finished the fifth inning 11 times. In those starts, they own a 3.20 ERA (20 ER over 56.1 IP). In the other nine starts that have not reached the end of the fifth, the Birds' ERA is 10.34 (36 ER over 31.1 IP). Bryan Hudson (4), Paul Richan (2), Luis Lugo (2), Oscar De La Cruz (2) and Javier Assad (1) have made the 11 five-inning starts.
LEGGO MY BALEGO
Since joining the club from Short Season Low A Eugene on April 16, Cam Balego has been an offensive force. The Pittsburgh native went 0-for-3 in his debut, but since, has hit .381 (8-for-21)/.444/.619 with 2 2B, a HR, 9 RBIs, 5 RS and 4 BB in eight games. He already leads the Pelicans with three multi-RBI games and has scored a run or knocked one in in each of his last eight games. A season ago, Balego just hit .233/.296/.287 with Low-A South Bend in 38 games.
The Pelicans second baseman, Carlos Sepulveda, is on a tear over his last 15G. In that span, he is hitting .246/.318/.246 with 7 RBIs, 7 BB, 4 SB and 4 RS. He tied a career high with a three-hit game on Thursday. Before missing the entire 2018 season with an injury, Sepulveda played in 28 games with the Birds in 2017.
FEELING THE PAYNE
The Pelicans backup catcher, Tyler Payne, has been swinging a hot bat for the Birds. Over his last seven games, he is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with 3 2B, a HR, 3 RBIs, 3 RS and 2 BB. Before the streak started, Payne began 1-for-7 at the plate.
DAVIS MAKING HIS MARK AT THE PLATE, BASES
Pelicans outfielder Zach Davis has been hot as well. Over his last eight games, he is batting .375 (9-for-24) with a 2B, 3 3B, 2 RBIs, 6 RS, 5 BB and 5-for-5 in stolen bases. A year ago, his 38 stolen bases between the Midwest and Carolina Leagues were the most of any Cubs minor leaguer. His five this season are tied for third in the league and second in the organization behind D.J. Artis' six stolen bases for Low-A South Bend.
BRINGING UP THE BACK END
In the Pelicans' seven wins this season, the Birds' bullpen has been the key. In wins, the bullpen has a 0.72 ERA (2 ER in 25.0 IP). On the other hand, in losses, the Pelicans' bullpen owns a 5.73 ERA (38 ER over 59.2 IP).
The Pelicans and the Mudcats have played some close games over the last few seasons. The 7-3 loss on Tuesday was the most lopsided defeat for the Birds against Carolina since the a 7-0 thumping on 5/3/18. Since the Pelicans became a Cubs affiliate in 2015, 74 of the 100 meetings (74 percent) between the two have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Birds are 35-39 in those contests. In one-run games, the Pelicans are 18-18, they are 9-12 in two-run contests and 8-9 in the head-to-head games decided by three runs.
BATS WARMING UP
Through the first 13 games of the season, the Pelicans scored a league-worst 39 runs (3.0/game). Over the last seven games, the offense has picked it up. Combined, the Pelicans have scored 29 runs (4.1 runs/game) on 54 hits (7.7 hits/game). Out of those 54 knocks, 21 have been for extra bases. In the last seven games combined, the Birds team slash line has risen from .183/.285/.264 to .209/.302/.322.
The Pelicans' 16 home games in April are the most home contests in the opening month for the Birds since 2006 when they played 17. Myrtle Beach is 4-9 on the Grand Strand so far in 2019.
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