Faulkner dominates again as Myrtle Beach Pelicans edge Lynchburg

mmckinnon@thesunnews.comJuly 11, 2014 

Coming into Friday, Pelicans starter Andrew Faulkner had given up just one run in his last three starts.

Faulkner made it through another start without allowing a run Friday.

The lefty allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five in five scoreless innings, and right fielder Royce Bolinger hit a solo home run to lead Myrtle Beach to a 2-1 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Consistency has been key for Faulkner, who made his 10th quality start in 19 outings (16 starts) this season. Faulkner boasts a 2.10 ERA, which is the second-best in the Carolina League behind only Ryan Merritt of Carolina.

Faulkner (8-1) started the season out of the bullpen for Myrtle Beach and after piggybacking with Luis Parra, alternating starts and long-relief roles for two games, was named a starter as Cody Buckel was placed on the disabled list on April 18.

A Carolina League All-Star this season, Faulkner is the only qualifying Carolina League pitcher who has yet to allow a home run this season.

"Once again he was good," Pelicans coach Joe Mikulik said of Faulkner. "We try to limit his innings so he can stay strong throughout the year. Five innings tonight; that was it and he was effective again. Fastball commanding, pitched in very well and attacked the zone; that was something that was very big for him tonight."

The Pelicans took advantage of a Lynchburg mistake in the first inning. Myrtle Beach shortstop Edwin Garcia hit a double and designated hitter Chris Garia scored a run following a fielding error by Hillcats left fielder Jose Martinez as the Pelicans took a 1-0 lead in the first.

Myrtle Beach took a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning after Bolinger hit a solo home run with one out.

And with Bolinger recently coming off the DL, Mikulik is just happy to have the righty outfielder back in the lineup.

"That was a big at-bat for us," Mikulik said. "[Bolinger] was hurt but it's good to have him back. We lost him for a while and he comes back and he's had a few good games already. He hit that ball agains Boli got a pitch to hit and drove it out of the ballpark and that was huge for us."

Lynchburg scored its only run in the top of the sixth inning as Emerson Landoni hit an RBI double to cut the Hillcats' deficit to one run.

Lucas Sims (6-8) received the loss for Lynchburg after he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and walked one while fanning six.

"Everytime we play [Lynchburg], it's a good game," Mikulik said. "They battle every time. They compete, battle at the plate and they have some good arms."

The Pelicans will battle the Hillcats in the second game of a four-game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Myrtle Beach is expected to send Victor Payano (3-6, 5.20) to the mound to face Lynchburg's Cody Scarpecca (4-6, 4.25).

Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302.

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