After Myrtle Beach fell to Carolina in the first game of a doubleheader Friday, one swing of the bat changed things for the Pelicans in the second game.
Carlos Penalver hit a three-RBI double in the sixth inning to give Myrtle Beach the lead, and the Pelicans shut the door on the Mudcats in the seventh for a 5-2 win as the teams split a doubleheader at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
“Obviously it could be worse but when you split a doubleheader, you’ve got a team that’s playing pretty good and as far as us, we’re scuffling to get hits and get runners in motion,” said Myrtle Beach manager Mark Johnson, whose team fell to Carolina 5-3 in the first game. “Offensively we’re in one of those funks where everybody is kind of struggling at the same time.”
Not Chesny Young, however.
The Pelicans infielder has excelled since a May 12 call-up from Low-A South Bend. Young went 2-for-3 in both games Friday to increase his batting average from .371 to .395. It was Young’s 10th and 11th multi-hit games with Myrtle Beach.
“Chesny always gives you a good at-bat. He stays in there, stays in the zone really well and never gives in,” Johnson said of his leading hitter. “He doesn’t lose his approach, which a lot of younger hitters will do at this level. They’ll go out of their approach and get away from what they’re good at doing and he’s good at staying within.”
In the second game, the Pelicans scored a run in the third inning as Mark Zagunis took home on a double steal to tie the game at 1. After Carolina’s Reed Harper hit an RBI single in the fifth to give the Mudcats a 2-1 lead, Young hit an RBI single in the sixth to tie the game at 2. Then, Penalver delivered with the big bases clearing double to give Myrtle Beach a permanent lead.
“You’ve got to get runners on base first, so they did a good job of getting on base. Zagunis led off with a walk, then Chen got a hit-and-run and we had both of them on second and third, which is heads up baserunning,” Johnson said of the sixth inning. “Then [Carolina] punched out two guys so the momentum goes right back to their side, now you got bases loaded and two outs and you’ve got Penalver up, who’s been great with the bases loaded. His numbers are ridiculous. If there’s anybody we want in that situation it’s him and he came through with a huge clutch hit.”
Jacob Heesch (3-0) received the win out the bullpen in the second game as he tossed 1 2/3 shutout innings. Starter Paul Blackburn received a no-decision in the second game after he lasted 5 1/3 innings in which he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out two.
“Pitching was well tonight,” Johnson said.
In the first game, the Mudcats made a late charge, loading the bases in the sixth inning before first baseman Jacob Schrader hit a three-RBI double to give Carolina a 4-3 lead. Mudcats shortstop Johan Camargo added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as he hit an RBI single for a 5-3 Mudcats advantage, and that’s all Carolina needed as
Duane Underwood (5-2) received the loss in the first game as he gave up four runs on seven hits and one walk and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings.
“We got a pretty good outing from Underwood,” Johnson said. “He came out and kind of lost his conviction of pitches that last inning and gave up a couple of runs; we just couldn’t bounce back.”
In the first game, Carolina outhit the Pelicans 9-5, and three Mudcats (Franco, Camargo and Connor Lien) went 2-for-3. Carolina was 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded just two on the basepaths.
In the second game, the Mudcats outhit Myrtle Beach 7-6. The Pelicans were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left three men on base, while Carolina was 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded four.
The Pelicans and Mudcats will meet in yet another doubleheader on Saturday at 5:05 p.m.
“That’s a lot of baseball in two days,” Johnson said. “Hopefully we come out ready to play and be a little more aggressive on the offensive side.”
Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302 or on Twitter @mmckinnonTSN.