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Extra-inning affairs wear down Myrtle Beach Pelicans players

Myrtle Beach Pelicans catcher Jesus Sucre has never looked forward to a day off from baseball more than Monday's respite from the diamond.

The Pelicans played seven games in six days from Tuesday through Sunday, and two of those games went 20 and 15 innings. That's one inning short of the equivalent of nine full nine-inning games in six days.

"Oh my God, that was really hard. That was amazing," said Sucre, who caught all of both the 20-inning game in Winston-Salem on Wednesday and 15-inning game three nights later in Wilmington. "I was asleep [Monday] all day. I couldn't feel my legs. I was really tired."

The team bus arrived back at BB&T Coastal Field after 3 a.m. Monday morning, and the Pelicans were unable to get their legs underneath them offensively Tuesday, getting shut out on just three hits in a 1-0 loss to Lynchburg.

The Pelicans (13-32) have now lost nine of their last 11 games, and have scored more than three runs just once in that span to squander numerous stellar pitching performances. Randall Delgado pitched a gem Tuesday, striking out 12 in seven innings while allowing one run on five hits.

The extra-inning games may have seemed even longer to the Pelicans considering they lost both marathons, 4-3 and 2-1, and they capped the road trip with a 6-3 loss at Wilmington on Sunday.

"We played a little bit sluggish Sunday but that's OK," Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler said. "It's to be expected after playing as much baseball as we had in the last five days of the trip. It was a crazy five days. It was a long week. We had [Monday] off, so we're revived and ready to go."

Myrtle Beach was forced to make some temporary transactions because of the strain put on the pitching staff.

They promoted relievers Luis Avilan and Jeff Lorick from Low-A Rome Thursday and sent Paul Clemens and Tyrelle Harris down because both threw their organization-enforced limit of four innings in one outing in the 20-inning game. "Those guys maxed out in the extra innings," Wheeler said.

Angelo Paulino also went three innings in that loss, which set franchise records as the longest games for both Winston-Salem and Myrtle Beach, and matched the second-longest game in the 65 years of the Carolina League. Worse yet, it was the second game of a day-night doubleheader, so the Pelicans had already played nine innings that day.

Reliever Yeliar Castro got a spot start and threw 72 pitches in six innings of three-hit, one-run ball in the 15-inning game Saturday, and the games were particularly long for David Francis, who got the loss in both when he allowed a single run in 12/3 innings in each outing.

"Playing the extra innings, playing the doubleheader, it taxes a pitching staff because your hands are tied with pitch counts and you can only bring them back in so many days," Wheeler said. Clemens and Harris rejoined the Pelicans on Sunday.

There's no rest for the weary. Following Tuesday night's series opener, the Pelicans play approximately 12 hours later with a special 10:30 a.m. start to today's second game.

Pope experiment ends

The Pelicans released righthanded relief pitcher Van Pope following this past weekend's series at Wilmington, ending an attempt to convert the six-year minor-league third baseman into a relief pitcher this season.

Pope, 26, a 6-foot, 210-pounder from Jackson, Miss., played 106 games last year at Triple-A Gwinnett as a third baseman. He played the hot corner in Myrtle Beach in 2006, and said the change was more the Atlanta Braves organization's decision more than it was his.

"It was a little more their idea," Pope said during the Pelicans' most recent homestand.

"I was a little caught off-guard by the decision, considering I was kind of the next guy in line behind Chipper [Jones] to take his spot, and being a prospect for so long, and coming up the ranks and putting my time in and stuff."

This was Pope's final year under contract with the Braves, and he may look to sign with another organization as an infielder again. He was a position player but also a closer at Meridian Community College in Mississippi.

"There are 29 other teams out there," Pope said. "... Agewise I don't think I'm out of the game yet. If I decide I want to go back and play third base ... we'll see how it goes."

LynchburgAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Fellhauer LF

4

0

1

0

0

1

.297

Puckett 2B

3

1

1

0

1

2

.279

Soto DH

4

0

1

1

0

0

.279

Mesoraco C

4

0

0

0

0

3

.327

Buchholz 3B

4

0

0

0

0

1

.281

Mendez, C 1B

4

0

0

0

0

2

.309

Day RF

3

0

1

0

0

1

.241

Rojas SS

3

0

1

0

0

2

.222

Contreras, E CF

2

0

1

0

0

0

.250

Totals31

1

6

1

1

12

Myrtle BeachAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Miles CF

4

0

1

0

0

1

.252

Nelson 3B

4

0

0

0

0

0

.234

Jones, T 2B

4

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Culver LF

3

0

0

0

1

2

.250

Avila 1B

3

0

0

0

0

0

.252

Sumoza RF

3

0

0

0

0

1

.161

Jones, M DH

1

0

0

0

2

0

.182

Sucre C

3

0

0

0

0

1

.209

Sime SS

3

0

2

0

0

0

.321

Totals28

0

3

0

3

7

Lynhcburg

100

000

000

--

1

6

0

M. Beach

000

000

000

--

0

3

0

E--Sucre (6). LOB--Lynchburg 5, Myrtle Beach 4. 2B-Soto (10), Fellhauer (16). CS-Culver (2), Sime (3). S --Contreras.

Lynchburg

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Fairel W, 5-1

7

3

0

0

2

4

3.04

Watson, S H, 1

1

0

0

0

1

2

0.00

Freeman, J S, 4

1

0

0

0

0

1

5.60

Myrtle Beach

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Dlgdo, Ra L, 2-4

7

5

1

1

0

12

2.43

Rodgers

2

1

0

0

1

0

4.71

WP--Delgado. Umpires-Home, Joey Amaral, 1B, Tyler Wilson. T-2:09. A --1,634.

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