Pelicans’ Clifton proclaimed Cubs’ Pitcher of the Month

pel-29Myrtle Beach Pelicans starting pitcher Trevor Clifton has been named the Chicago Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May, the organization announced Saturday. Clifton becomes the first Pelican to take home a monthly award in 2016.

The right-hander went 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA over five starts in the month of May, putting together a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings.

Over the course of the month, Clifton struck out 35 batters and walked only seven over 28 innings. He finished May second in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts, and in a tie for third in wins.

The Maryville, Tenn. native has posted a 3-3 record in nine starts on the season to go along with a sparkling 2.35 ERA in 46.0 innings. Clifton currently ranks second in the circuit in strikeouts per nine innings (10.0), fourth in ERA and is tied for sixth in total strikeouts (51). He has held opponents to a .111 batting average with runners in scoring position this year.

Clifton has steadily improved as the season has gone along. The right-hander has yielded just seven earned runs in his last seven starts covering 38.1 innings for a 1.64 ERA. During that time frame, he has fanned 41 against 11 walks with 32 hits allowed, posting a 3-1 record. His signature start came on May 12 vs. Winston-Salem, an outing in which he fanned a career-high 10 without walking a batter in six scoreless frames.

Named a Northwest League All-Star in 2014, Clifton was originally signed by the Cubs after being selected in the 12th round of the 2013 draft out of Heritage High School in Tennessee. In four professional seasons, the right-hander has gone 15-15 with a 3.70 ERA (93 ER/226.0 IP) in 53 appearances, all but eight as a starter.

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