Ailing Pelicans drop fourth straight, place three on DL

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Sunday was a bad one for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who suffered their fourth straight loss to open the second half of the season and sent three key players to the disabled list.

Pelicans starter Jonathan Martinez retired the first 12 batters he faced on Sunday, but took no decision as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, lost 3-2 to the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark.

Winston-Salem (33-40, 3-0 second half) bumped its win-streak to four games thanks to an eighth-inning rally off reliever James Farris, who made his Pelicans debut at BB&T Ballpark in relief of Martinez. With the Birds leading 2-1, shortstop Cleuluis Rondon lined a lead-off single to left-center field before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch. Center fielder Adam Engel drew a walk and moved to third when second baseman Jake Peter lined the game-tying RBI single up the middle. With third baseman Trey Michalczewski batting, a wild pitch brought Engel home to score the go-ahead and eventual winning run.

The Pelicans (41-32, 0-4 second half) got some relief from the Chicago Cubs, who promoted South Bend Cubs right-handed pitchers Jeremy Null and David Garner to Myrtle Beach on Sunday. In corresponding roster moves, outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr., and right-handed pitchers Tyler Skulina and Duane Underwood Jr. were placed on the 7-day disabled list.

Underwood Jr., 20, led the Carolina League in batting average before his last start on Saturday against the Carolina Mudcats, in which he allowed six earned runs in one-plus inning of work. The right-hander still ranks fourth among the Carolina League leaders with a 2.66 ERA in 64 1/3 innings of work, and eighth-highest among Cubs minor leaguers. With a 6-3 record, the Raleigh, N.C., native has struck out 42 and walked 20 while carrying the league’s fourth-best WHIP of 1.03.

Skulina, 23, will also make his first stint on the disabled list this year. The right-hander carries a 2-4 record and leads the Pelicans with 59 strikeouts, which is also the fifth-most among Cubs minor leaguers, and the fourth highest strikeouts per nine innings in the Carolina League. His 3.05 ERA ranks ninth among Carolina Leaguers, and tenth in the Cubs’ minor league system.

Dunston Jr., 22, will make his second stint on the disabled list after missing 40 games from April 22 to June 13. The left-handed hitting outfielder spent two more games with the Pelicans on June 13 and 14, but has not played since. He is hitting .237 in 12 games with one double, three triples, no home runs, and two RBIs.

Null, 21, was the 2015 Midwest League All-Star Game starting pitcher and earned MVP honors after tossing one perfect inning in which he struck out the side. The six-foot, seven-inch right-hander also earned the win for the MWL East All-Stars. With South Bend, the Claremont, N.C., native struck out 48 batters, and with four walks, he has allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings in the Midwest League in his 65 2/3 innings of work, en route to a 6-2 record. His 2.33 ERA ranks second among Midwest League pitchers, and seventh in the Cubs minor league system.

Garner, 22, was a seventh round selection by the Cubs in the 2013 draft out of Michigan State University. The right-hander has a 2-0 record with one save and one blown save in 16 appearances from the bullpen. He has also struck out 31 batters while walking 10 in 25 1/3 innings of work. Despite a 5.33 ERA, 11 of Garner’s 16 appearances have been shutout efforts.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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