Stranded baserunners costly in Pelicans’ first loss of year

pel-22After an exciting Opening Day win, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark by an 8-3 final score on Friday night.

Despite Birds’ lead-off men reaching base safely in five of nine innings, Myrtle Beach (1-1) was stymied on a number of occasions, falling behind 6-0 before scoring its first run in the fifth. After catcher Ben Carhart doubled to left to begin the frame, and a Shawon Dunston Jr. single set up Daniel Lockhart’s sacrifice fly to centerfield, putting the Pelicans on the board, 6-1.

Pelicans starting pitcher Daury Torrez (0-1) struck out five Blue Rocks (1-1), yet allowed six earned runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs in the early going. Wilmington centerfielder Bubba Starling delivered the latter of the long balls in the third inning, sneaking a three-run homer over the left field wall that barely ticked off the edge of the glove of Pelicans left fielder Mark Zagunis. Torrez did collect five strikeouts in his 4 2/3 innings on the mound, but was handed the loss.

The Birds flashed a bit of local and international flare as Coastal Carolina University alumnus Josh Conway relieved Torrez with 1 1/3 innings of work, surrendering two earned runs and three hits. Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion followed with two hitless innings, before Tayler Scott, the first South African-born player in Pelicans history, made his debut. Scott hurled one inning of shutout baseball, striking out a pair of Blue Rocks.

Blue Rocks starter, left-hander Cody Reed (1-0), outlasted Torrez by a hair, pitching into the sixth inning and earning the win before right-handed reliever Luke Farrell worked a four-inning save. Farrell recorded all seven of his strikeouts in his final three innings on the mound.

Carhart led off the ninth with a hit by pitch, and the Pelicans scratched a pair of late runs across the plate. However, they were unable to climb back into the contest however.

Alberto Mineo, the first Italian-born player to don a Pelicans uniform, singled in his first at-bat of the season, a pinch hit knock to right field. He later scored on a double by left fielder Jacob Hannemann. Farrell would then close the door with his final strikeout to seal the Blue Rocks’s 8-3 victory, their first of the season.

The opening home stand continues on Friday with another 7:05 p.m.

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