Pelicans ace Jackson may be off to greener pastures

Pelicans pitcher Luke Jackson played a major role in the team’s Carolina League Southern Division first-half championship, so much so that he may be playing his final games in Myrtle Beach.

Jackson, a Carolina League All-Star who is from Southwest Ranches, FL, is playing his second season in Myrtle Beach. The right-hander is 6-4 with a 2.18 ERA in 2013. He has pitched 57.2 innings, has 59 strikeouts, and opposing batters are hitting .227 against him.

“This first half is going well. I’ve had some games in which I’ve really battled with my command and had some good outings,” said Jackson in terms of his performance thus far. “The defense behind me has helped tremendously this year.”

The 21-year old was selected 45th overall by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

“The team has had some real hot streaks and some real down streaks, but we’re back on a hot streak and it’s always good to end like that. As a team we’re putting things together and figuring things out,” said Jackson.

Jackson was rated the Rangers’ No. 17 prospect for the 2012 season by MLB.com. He went 5-5 with a 4.92 ERA for Class A Hickory and posted a 5-2 record with a 4.39 ERA in a Pelicans uniform.

In his senior year in high school, Jackson was 8-0 with a 0.90 ERA. In what was his real first season as a pitcher, Jackson struck out 87 batters, threw three shutouts and recorded two saves. He was named first team All-Broward County in 2010.

“My junior year I mainly played shortstop and pitched, but always said to myself I was a shortstop and not a pitcher. The summer before my senior year I got on the mound and started figuring things out,” said Jackson. “I learned how to throw some off speed pitches which transitioned well and I had a pretty solid senior year.”

Being in his second season with the birds, Jackson could not fully expressed how much he loves playing at the beach.

“You can ask anyone, it’s the best park in the league for sure. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to play in Myrtle Beach. Having the beach a block away for me to do my 20-minute run is just great. I can’t think of a better location in the country for minor league baseball,” said Jackson.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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