Blackburn’s nine-K outing propels Pelicans to victory

pel-blackburnBehind a career-best nine strikeouts by right-hander Paul Blackburn took away a 4-1 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark on Saturday night. Blackburn also tied a career-high seven innings on the mound while the Birds won their seventieth game of the season.

Cael Brockmeyer, whose solo home run on Friday night gave the Pelicans (70-48, 29-20 second half) a 2-0 lead at the time, continued a similar trend on Saturday, this time with a two-run RBI single to left field in the bottom of the first inning.

In the third, Myrtle Beach tacked on another marker without the benefit of a hit. Daniel Lockhart drew a two-out walk and stole second base before moving to third on an errant pickoff throw from Hillcats starter Mitch Brown. With Chesny Young batting, Lockhart put the Birds in front 3-0 when he scored on a wild pitch.

The Hillcats (61-58, 28-21 second half) failed to score through the first three frames, but a leadoff homer from first baseman Joe Sever inched Lynchburg closer but still trailing, 3-1. It was the only earned run Blackburn allowed all night. Blackburn has allowed just two earned runs across 33 innings since his return from the disabled list on July 13 while walking five and fanning 26.

Aside from the longball, Blackburn (6-5) surrendered a shallow single to right field and two infield hits as the only four hits he would give up on Saturday en route to his sixth win of the year. He fanned two batters in the third, fifth, and sixth innings while striking out at least one in each of his first six frames.

Prior to Saturday night, the 2012 first-round pick had twirled starts with eight strikeouts on three previous occasions in his career, including two of his first three starts with Class A-Short Season Boise in June of 2013, and most recently on May 16, 2014, with Class-A Kane County. He finished his night on Saturday with a new career-high nine punchouts, along with seven innings in the book, which tied a career-best.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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