Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Myrtle Beach Pelicans roughed up as first half title looms

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have struggled at the plate in their home ballpark as of late.

But the club had issues on the mound Saturday, too.

After starter Jen-Ho Tseng allowed a career-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings, the Myrtle Beach bullpen gave up eight runs the rest of the way as Lynchburg took a 14-5 win over the Pelicans at Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Myrtle Beach is 4-6 in its last 10 games at home and is batting just .193 (55-for-284) at the plate during that span.

“The pitching has been great. It's really been the hitters that have been in a funk,” Pelicans infielder Chesny Young said. “It happens to every team. Tonight it was the pitchers that struggled, but hopefully tomorrow we'll get it together and get a win.”

Tseng (2-3) received the loss as he struck out five and gave up six runs, eight hits and walked two in 4 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Juan Paniagua (1 1/3 innings) and Tyler Ihrig (two innings) gave up four runs each out of the bullpen.

And while Lynchburg built a 13-run advantage Saturday, the Pelicans never gave up.

Young hit an RBI single in the eighth and Jacob Rogers hit a three-run home run to cut Myrtle Beach's deficit to nine, but that was as close as the Pelicans would get.

“It was good for us I think to get a little momentum going into tomorrow. But yeah, it was a little too late since they put up 14 runs, or whatever,” Young said. “But I think going into tomorrow that was good for us.”

Pelicans outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. played his first game since going on the disabled list on April 22. Dunston – missing 48 games – went 1-for-3 and drew walk in his return to the beach.

Lynchburg outhit Myrtle Beach 16-8. The Pelicans were 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving five men on base. Lynchburg was 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight on the basepaths.

Myrtle Beach has won the first-half title four times in the last seven years, and twice the team has won both the first- and second-half titles (2008, 2014). With its magic number down to 6, the club is close to winning another first half Southern Division Championship. The Salem Red Sox are three games back and the Carolina Mudcats are five behind with eight games left.

And although Myrtle Beach is so close to securing its fifth straight postseason appearance, Young said the team just needs to focus on playing good baseball.

“It'd be huge to clinch the playoffs and win the first half, but you try not to think of it,” Young said. “We have to treat every game we have left just like we have all the others. We're going to keep doing good things and hopefully we'll clinch.” 

Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302 or on Twitter @mmckinnonTSN.