Blackburn returns from DL to lead shutout of Mudcats

pel-BlackburnFor the second time in the series, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans defeated the Carolina Mudcats in shutout fashion with a 5-0 win on Monday evening at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Right-hander Paul Blackburn made his return to the starting rotation and pitched three shutout innings. Jacob Rogers led the charge offensively with a three-hit, three-RBI game to complete the series win.

The Pelicans (49-39, 8-11 second half) welcomed Blackburn, a first-round draft pick in 2012, back for his first start since June 11, and the righty shut out the Mudcats on just two hits in three innings of work. After spending 26 games on the disabled list, he struck out two batters while not walking a man in his return.

The shutout victory was the Pelicans’ second of the series and third in the last seven games in which they have faced the Mudcats (43-45, 9-10 second half).

Rogers moved Myrtle Beach into the lead with a one-out RBI single to left field in the first inning. Victor Caratini added to the run-support with a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Birds on top, 2-0.

Rogers, the Cubs’ minor league organizational leader with 54 RBI, tacked on another with a run-scoring single to left field in the third. With Chesny Young at first base and the Pelicans leading 3-0 in the fifth, Rogers sent a high pop up to center field, but Keith Curcio lost track of the ball, and it landed in front of him for an RBI double to give the Birds a 4-0 advantage.

Pin-Chieh Chen doubled with one out in the sixth, and Daniel Lockhart capped the scoring with an RBI single up the middle, extending the Pelicans’ lead to 5-0.

Brad Markey (1-0) took over for Blackburn in the fourth and fired 4 2/3 shutout innings, facing one batter over the minimum. The 23-year-old right-hander scattered a pair of hits while striking out four and finished with his first win of the season.

Despite surrendering a lead-off double and hitting a batter in the ninth inning, James Pugliese worked out of trouble and struck out the final batter of the game to complete the 5-0 shutout win.

Mudcats starter Seth Webster (4-6) took the loss after with 5 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander tied a season-high 10 hits while also tying a season-high five earned runs.

Chesny Young singled in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 32 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the Carolina League since Carlos Sanchez strung together 37 games on base for the Winston-Salem Dash in 2012. Young’s streak is the fourth longest since the league began tracking on-base streaks during the 2009 season, and it is now longer than the previous Pelicans record of 31 games set by Ryan Strausborger in 2011. With two hits on Monday, Young collected his 22nd multi-hit game in 54 games with the Pelicans.

The Pelicans have an off-day on Tuesday before they begin a four-game road series against the Potomac Nationals on Wednesday.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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