Pelicans split firecracker doubleheader with Red Sox

PelThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, won the resumption of Thursday’s rain-suspended game on Friday against the Salem Red Sox, 5-1, but lost a seven-inning contest, 3-0. Jeimer Candelario punctuated an eighth-inning comeback with a three-run triple in the first game, but Salem hurler Teddy Stankiewicz tossed a complete game shutout to blank the Birds 3-0 in the second game.

Down 1-0, the Pelicans (44-34, 3-6 second half) began their eighth-inning rally with four consecutive base hits to open the frame. Mark Zagunis, who on Friday was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for June, tied the ballgame at 1-1 with a single up the middle. With two runners aboard, Chesny Young walked to load the bases and Candelario lined a three-run triple into the right-center field gap. With the Birds leading 4-1, Cael Brockmeyer drove in a fifth run on a sacrifice fly to center.

Right-handed reliever James Pugliese (4-1) took over for Thursday’s starter Tyler Ihrig, and he picked up the win with three shutout innings of work, striking out three. Jasvir Rakkar allowed one hit and one walk but closed the door in the ninth on a pop out to second base to end the game.

The comeback was set up because of Thursday’s game being suspended with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning and Salem leading 1-0. The Red Sox (41-38, 3-6 second half) scored their lone run in the top of the first with a two-out home run from second baseman Wendell Rijo.

With Carlos Penalver batting in the bottom of the fifth, lighting flashed and the game went into a delay. After a one-hour, six-minute stoppage of play, the game was officially suspended. When the game resumed on Friday, Penalver struck out looking against right-handed reliever Taylor Grover. Grover took over for starter Trey Ball, who shut out the Pelicans on two base hits over 4 1/3 innings of work before the rain delay began.

The second game remained scoreless into the sixth inning, with both starting pitchers racking up strikeouts. Red Sox starter Teddy Stankiewicz tied a career-high nine strikeouts while Jen-Ho Tseng tied a season-high six for the Pelicans.

Salem took a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning off of reliever James Ferris, scoring on a two-run single by first baseman Mario Martinez and an RBI single from shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin.

Pelicans catcher Victor Caratini attempted to pick a runner off first with the bases loaded during Lin’s at-bat, but the runner was ruled safe. Manager Mark Johnson was ejected after arguing the call with the field umpire.

Stankiewicz, a second-round draft selection in 2013, closed out his complete-game shutout with a pair of groundouts and a swinging strikeout.

The Pelicans will begin a short three-game road trip when they return to Zebulon, N.C. to face the Carolina Mudcats on Saturday, July 4, for a 7:00 p.m. ET first pitch. Right-hander Jonathan Martinez (5-1, 2.77) will take the hill for the Pelicans while Carolina counters with right-hander Max Povse (0-1, 11.25).

PHOTO CREDIT – Larry Kave, Myrtle Beach Pelicans

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