Potomac’s Lucas Giolito may be one of the top prospects in all of baseball, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans weren’t intimidated by the starter.
In fact, the Pelicans got to Giolito early on Monday.
Giolito – the No. 1-ranked prospect in the Washington Nationals system according to Baseball America – allowed three runs on four extra-base hits in the first two frames, and Myrtle Beach blanked the Nationals en route to a 3-0 victory at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark to win the four-game series.
“You’re talking about a guy with a big arm and big league stuff and we took advantage of some fastballs over the middle of the plate,” Pelicans manager Mark Johnson said of Giolito, who is the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com. “We gotta pat ourselves on the back a little bit for being ready for those pitches and not letting them go by. We got some big two-out hits, which is always tough for the opposing team to swallow. It was a good game and he pitched well, overall; we just got some timely hits.”
While Giolito draws a lot of attention, Pelicans starter Jen-Ho Tseng (2-2) stole the show Monday. Tseng picked up the win as he allowed two hits and no walks over six scoreless innings.
“Tseng was good; it was probably the best outing he’s had this year,” Johnson said. “His fastball was more efficient today, his [velocity] was up. His changeup still isn’t where it needs to be but he made some good pitches from the secondary. A little predictable at times with his breaking ball but he kept it down and got some groundballs.”
Chesny Young started things off for the Pelicans as he hit a double to move Pin-Chieh Chen over to third base. Then Jeimer Candelario highlighted the inning with a two-RBI double to give Myrtle Beach a quick 2-0 advantage.
“It was pretty big,” Candelario said. “I was looking for a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it. [Giolito] is a good pitcher but I found a good pitch to hit and drove it.”
Said Young: “I was able to get a fastball away that I put a good swing on to put two guys over to second and third [base], then Candelario came up with the big double. So getting off to a hot start like that, we knew we were up and played with a little more confidence.”
Mark Zagunis – the team’s leading hitter with a .314 batting average – lined an RBI double in the second inning as the Pelicans jumped ahead 3-0 and that was all they would need.
Candelario and Young were the only Myrtle Beach batters with multiple hits as each went 2-for-4. Candelario had a productive series, going 6-for-12 with two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Candelario said. “I’m seeing the ball well and I’m going to keep working hard.”
Meanwhile, Young has been tearing it up since he made his Carolina League debut on May 12. He’s batting .366 (15-for-41) with four RBIs and five runs scored in 10 games with the Pelicans.
“It’s funny. Baseball is funny. I’ve done the same pre-game routine; I’ve kept everything the same. I’m just seeing the ball really well right now,” Young said. “I’m working hard every day and hopefully hot streaks like this happen more often.”
Giolito took the loss as he gave up three runs on six hits, two walks and struck out four in five innings.
“We’d heard a lot about [Giolito] and how good he was,” Young said. “He had good stuff; we just got to him early on and they never recovered.”
Myrtle Beach was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base; Potomac was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners. Meanwhile, the Nationals also outhit the Pelicans 6-5.
Myrtle Beach gets ready for a seven-game road trip with three games at Carolina (May 27-29) and four games at Potomac (May 30-June 2), before returning to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark for a three-game series against Carolina starting June 4.
“Just keep showing up like they do and enjoy working and enjoy getting better,” Johnson said of what his club needs to do on the road trip. “They need to compete every single inning, every single out and every single pitch and that’s what this group does. They’re ultra-competitive and they want to win; that’s the name of the game.”
Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302 or on Twitter @mmckinnonTSN.