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Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 29 at Potomac

August 29, 2019 - Carolina League (CarL) - Myrtle Beach Pelicans News Release

Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue their final road trip of the season and conclude a four-game set against the Potomac Nationals (a Washington Nationals affiliate) with the finale of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, RHP Enrique De Los Rios (1-2, 2.27 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against LHP Carson Teel (6-3, 3.21 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.

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PELICANS BLOW LEAD, FALL TO POTOMAC

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans held a 7-3 lead in the fifth, but went on to drop the third game of the series to the Potomac Nationals 9-7 on Wednesday from Pfitzner Stadium. The Nationals scored three in the first to take an early lead, but Myrtle Beach stormed back with five runs in the third, highlighted by a three-run blast from Cam Balego. In the fifth inning, the Birds put up a pair of runs on a Delvin Zinn sacrifice fly and an Aramis Ademan RBI single to make it 7-3, but Potomac scored six unanswered runs and took the lead with a four-run seventh. In the back end of the bullpen, Scott Effross threw two scoreless innings.

MY OH AMAYA

Miguel Amaya has been a hot hitter for the Pelicans over the last couple months. After hitting just .217/.353/.361 with five homers in the first half of the season (49 games), he is hitting a strong .256/.356/.448 with six home runs in the second half of the season (49 games). His second half OPS (.804) is 80 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .285/.390/.492 with 12 doubles, five home runs, 25 RBIs and 20 BB compared to 19 strikeouts in a span of 36 games. The Pelicans catcher is within one long ball of his career-best 12 he hit with Low-A South Bend in 2018. In 2018, his second-half OPS (.634) was much lower than his first half mark (.865). Defensively, Amaya also has the MiLB lead with caught-stealings (45).

LEAVING THE FRIENDLY CONFINES

Inside the pitcher-friendly TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, the Birds have been an entirely different team than when they are on the road. At home, the Pelicans own the third-best ERA in the league (3.42), while they are last (10th) in road ERA (4.69) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .236/.322/.353 is also much better than home games: .220/.314/.323. The Birds hit 33 home runs at home and allowed 41 while they have hit 39 homers on the road in nine fewer games and allowed a league-worst 49 road blasts.

THE WRONG KIND OF RECORDS

The Pelicans are on pace to set a few franchise lows in 2019. In the first half, the Pelicans set the franchise record for fewest first half wins (21), most first half losses (46) and lowest first-half winning percentage (.313). The record for fewest road wins is 25 (2010) and the Pelicans currently have 24 road wins. Offensively, the Pelicans .228 batting average is one pace to set a new franchise low (.232, 2018). The Birds are also on pace for franchise lows in hits (980), runs (527), at bats (4,303) and total bases (1,452).

SUPER MITCHELL

Kevonte Mitchell has been getting hot at the right time for the Pelicans. From May 24 through August 18, he hit just .176 over a stretch of 53 games, but he has turned it around. Over his last nine games, he is hitting .357/.455/.643 with two doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. Mitchell leads the team with 14 home runs, a new career high as well after hitting 11 with Low-A South Bend in 2017. It's the most for the Pelicans since 2017 when Eddy Martinez and Matt Rose both hit 14.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?

The Pelicans are 3.5 games back of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for second place in the Southern Division as of Thursday. If the season were to end today, the Woodpeckers would be in the playoffs. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two, meaning that they can go 2-4 over the next six games and make the playoffs even if the Pelicans win their last five games. If the Pelicans miss out on the playoffs, it will be the first time the Pelicans failed to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 2009 and 2010. Fayetteville, which was Buies Creek last season, won the Mills Cup title in 2018 in a one-game, hurricane-shortened series.

THE RETURN OF THE JEDI

Luke Reynolds has been an offensive force since returning to the Pelicans. Reynolds played the first 55 games of the season with Myrtle Beach, hitting just .190/.296/.288 before being sent down to Low-A South Bend for 22 games. Since coming back to the Grand Strand, Reynolds is hitting .300/.378/.500 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 22 games. He has raised his average with the Birds all the way up to .223 and his OPS from .584 to .672 in those 22 games. Additionally, he has played errorless baseball at first base.

PELICAN POINTS

The Pelicans finish the season with an 11-game road trip, featuring three games against Salem (in which the Pelicans were just swept), four at Potomac and a season-finishing series at Wilmington. This is the longest road trip to finish a season in recorded franchise history (since 2005). The previous long was eight games in 2015. It's the fifth-straight year that the Birds have finished the regular season on the road...Cam Balego's three-run home run on Wednesday was his 12th of the season. He is one of three Birds (Kevonte Mitchell, 14, and Miguel Amaya, 11) with double-digit homers this season.


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