Shorthanded Pelicans fall into first-place tie with Dash

The bad news kept rolling in Wednesday for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, losing 5-0 to the Carolina Mudcats and falling into a share of first place with the Winston-Salem Dash in the Carolina League Southern Division’s second-half standings.

The Pelicans (22-17), already reeling from the loss of four star players, including three of the best arms on the pitching staff, suffered their third straight loss, allowing the Dash (22-17) to tie up the championship race.

All the damage for the Mudcats came early, with two runs in the second and three in the third off Pelicans starter Randol Rojas.  In the second, Todd Hankins hit a two run home run in his first Carolina League at-bat to make it 2-0.  Singled from Carlos Moncrief and Ronny Rodriguez drove in three the next frame for the eventual final score.

On offense the Birds mustered only five hits, bringing their total for the last three games to just 13.  The Pelicans did not pick up a hit until the fifth inning, when Eddy Garcia doubled to the track in left-center.  Mudcats starter Mike Rayl went seven in the win, allowing only three of the five hits.

Myrtle Beach will finish the final month of the regular season without several key players. One day after ace pitcher Kyle Hendricks and third baseman Christian Villanueva were traded to Chicago Cubs for major-league pitcher Ryan Dempster, the Pelicans saw four more transactions that dramatically shook up their pitching staff.

Pelicans’ right-hander Wilmer Font, whose fastball was clocked at 102 mph in Tuesday’s game, was promoted to Double-A Frisco, while Loris native Ben Henry was placed on the disabled list. The Pelicans received a pair of right-handers from Double-A Frisco as compensation – Joe Van Meter received and Zach Osborne.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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