Pelicans blast three homers, set mark for best May ever

pel-11homerFor the first time this season, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, clubbed three home runs in one game as they took a 7-2 win over the Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium on Sunday.

Daniel Lockhart, Jeimer Candelario, and Jacob Rogers all went deep in support of starting pitcher Tyler Skulina, who won his second game of the year.

A day after missing the cycle by a double, Kevin Brown picked up where he left off in game one, giving the Pelicans the lead in the top of second inning with a two-run single to centerfield. Nationals third baseman Drew Ward led off the bottom of the frame with a walk before catcher Craig Manuel lined a game-tying home run over the right field foul pole, but the Birds responded in the fourth. Lockhart began the fourth inning by sending his second homer of the year over the right field fence, and Chesny Young beat out an infield single to shortstop before Candelario extended the Pelicans’ lead to 5-2 with another homer to right. Each of Candelario’s four home runs this season has come against the Nationals, and the last two have come in as many games.

Rogers pressed the replay button in the fifth, leading off the inning with his team-leading sixth longball of the year. Candelario’s third RBI capped the scoring in the next frame with a sacrifice fly to left field. With consecutive losses, Potomac (21-28) has lost seven of its last ten ball games. Five of those losses have been to Myrtle Beach.

The Pelicans (31-16) finished their best month of May in the past 11 seasons, going 21-7 and maintaining their first-place lead in the Carolina League Southern Division. The record breaks the mark set in 2014 when the club went 21-8 in May.

Nationals starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (3-4) tied a career-high with 10 hits allowed, while also tying a career-high six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander had also never allowed three home runs in a game until Sunday.

Skulina (2-3), who suffered a tough-luck 1-0 loss in his last start – also against the Nationals – fired six innings, surrendering two earned runs, while striking out three and walking a pair of batters. Newcomer Fernando Cruz, who joined the team Saturday from Double-A Tennessee, tossed three scoreless frames for his first save with Myrtle Beach.

The series against the Nationals wraps up Monday with a 7:05 p.m.

Photo by Larry Kave, Myrtle Beach Pelicans

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