Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Week in review: Led early by its pitching staff, Pelicans’ bats finally catching up

Myrtle Beach’s Robert Garcia digs for third base during last week’s game with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Myrtle Beach’s Robert Garcia digs for third base during last week’s game with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. jlee@thesunnews.com

Welcome to the third installment of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ baseball Week in Review. Each week, I will take a look back at the Pelicans’ performances, pull out some of those who stood out from the rest and provide a preview for the following week of baseball in the Carolina League.

The week that was…

Eventually, the true identity of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans would reveal itself.

Consistency seeming to elude the club early in the 2017 baseball campaign, things took a turn for the best this past week.

The Pelicans went 6-1, wrapping it up in thrilling fashion with a 10-8 victory at Lynchburg. After falling behind by five runs early on, Myrtle Beach reeled off 10 straight of their own.

With the victory, the club has won 8 of its last 10 games, and three series in a row.

A 7-4 win on April 23 over Down East delivered the first of that trio of series wins, followed by a three-game sweep of Wilmington during a brief home stand.

Myrtle Beach finished the week with a flourish, taking two of three from Lynchburg, scoring 19 total runs in its wins.

Player of the week

Second baseman Trent Giambrone: Speaking of consistency, few were better this past week on the Pelicans’ roster than the Metairie, La., native. Aside from a tough night at the dish on Thursday, Giambrone was a pretty reliable bet to reach base, going 9-for-25 with three runs scored and four RBIs.

For the season, he is batting .256, with four doubles and two home runs. He also has scored 11 runs and brought in eight more.

Pitcher of the week

Right-hander Adbert Alzolay: The 22-year-old pitcher from Venezuela made the most of his lone opportunity on the bump last week, scattering three hits in six innings of work in a 4-0 Pelicans win at Wilmington this past Thursday.

Alzolay did a good job of pounding the zone, better than 70 percent of his pitches going for strikes. He forced the Blue Rocks into eight groundouts, opposed to six fly ball outs.

The Myrtle Beach righty also had three strikeouts.

Tidbits

Career day for Flete: Second baseman Bryant Flete brought his best on Sunday, and boy could it have not come at a better time for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

The native of Venezuela went 2-for-5, with a home run and four RBIs, doing his part to help the club score 10 consecutive runs en route to a win over Lynchburg.

In 18 appearances, he is batting .319 with two home runs and a pair of doubles. He also has 14 runs, 10 RBIs and eight walks.

Bangin’ out the hits: Having worked with the group during a previous stop in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, Myrtle Beach hitting coach Guillermo Martinez figured Pelicans bat would eventually come around.

This past week, his prophecy came to fruition as the club earned 10 or more hits in five of its seven contests. Needless to say, fruitful plate appearances have also allowed the Pelicans to score more runs.

In its last 12 games, Myrtle Beach has scored 75 runs— an average of 6.25 per game. Oddly, in its first dozen games, the Pelicans scratched across less than half that total (36).

Got arms ready?: Through 24 games, only two Myrtle Beach starters have lasted into the sixth inning, with right-hander Adbert Alzolay’s six innings pitched last week at Wilmington the longest a Pelicans hurler has gone all season.

In fact, the club’s bullpen has already racked up better than 100 innings this season, accounting for 11 of the team’s 24 decisions and compiling a 9-2 mark. Conversely, Myrtle Beach starters are only 5-8 thus far.

The week ahead

On deck: Myrtle Beach continues its Carolina League road swing by making its first trip to Frederick, Md., to take on the Keys. Currently third in the Carolina League’s Northern Division, the club has won 6 of its last 10 games.

Second baseman Stephen Wilkerson is currently second in the Carolina League in batting (.351). Of his 26 hits this season, seven have gone for extra bases — five doubles and two home runs. Shortstop Ryan Mountcastle — the team’s leader in hits with 30 — and right fielder Austin Hays also are good bets at the plate, also batting well above .300.

Cory Sedlock is the ace of the Frederick staff, currently 3-0 this season with a 3.71 ERA. In his 26.2 innings pitched, he has 21 hits as opposed to eight walks. Keegan Akin, Cristian Alvarado and Brian Gonzalez also are reliable starters for the Keys.

In the hole: The Pelicans renew acquaintances with Buies Creek, which has knocked them off in 6 of their 8 previous matchups. In the past 10 days, however, Myrtle Beach has trimmed the Astros’ lead to two games in the Carolina League’s Southern Division.

Florence native Akeem Bostick has been one of the league’s top pitchers, his 1.86 ERA among the best on the circuit. He has struck out 16 batters as opposed to six walks.

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

Results from the past week

Sunday, April 23: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7, Down East Wood Ducks 4

Tuesday, April 25: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7, Wilmington Blue Rocks 6

Wednesday, April 26: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7, Wilmington Blue Rocks 3

Thursday, April 27: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4, Wilmington Blue Rocks 0

Friday, April 28: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 9, Lynchburg Hillcats 6

Saturday, April 29: Lynchburg Hillcats 11, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3

Sunday, April 30: Myrtle Beach Pelicans 10, Lynchburg Hillcats 8

Carolina League standings

Northern Division

Overall

Last 10

Salem Red Sox

14-9

6-4

Potomac Nationals

12-10

6-4

Frederick Keys

12-12

6-4

Lynchburg Hillcats

10-11

5-5

Wilmington Blue Rocks

8-15

3-7

Southern Division

Overall

Last 10

Buies Creek Astros

16-8

6-4

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

14-10

8-2

Down East Wood Ducks

11-13

4-6

Carolina Mudcats

10-13

4-6

Winston-Salem Dash

9-15

5-5

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