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Pelicans sweep final April weekly awards05/02/2011 6:43 PM ET
By Tyler Maun / Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitcher Robbie Erlin and outfielder Ryan Strausborger have swept the Carolina League's weekly accolades by being named Pitcher and Player of the Week respectively for the period of April 25 to May 1.
While helping the Pelicans to a 4-3 homestand that included a split of four games with the Potomac Nationals and a series victory over the Frederick Keys, Strausborger and Erlin dominated throughout. Myrtle Beach left-hander Erlin spun a pair of brilliant performances on the mound to bookend the homestand with one start in each series. Against the Nationals on the 25th, the Pelicans' southpaw tossed seven shutout frames, a career high, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out ten, also a career best. Erlin retired the last 12 men he faced in that outing including striking out the side in his final inning of work and, because of that performance, checked in at number three on Baseball America's Hot Sheet for April 29 as one of the top recent prospects in Minor League Baseball. In Sunday's series finale with the Keys at BB&T Coastal Field, Erlin silenced the visitors again, this time allowing a single tally on one hit-a leadoff third-inning solo shot homer by Bobby Stevens-and striking out six with just one walk while matching his seven-inning performance from six days prior.
Erlin entered this season as BA's highest-rated Pelicans player, placing himself fourth in the publication's overall rankings in the 2011 Prospect Handbook. The 21-year-old Californian signed with the Rangers as a third-round selection in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Last year, in his full-season professional debut with the Class A Hickory Crawdads, Erlin led the South Atlantic League in ERA (2.12) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (7.4) at just 19 years old.
Outfielder Strausborger has found his niche as the Pelicans' sparkplug at the top of the order. Over his club's seven games in the award period, the Indiana State University product raked at a .414 clip (12-for-29) with a .469 slugging percentage and .897 slugging percentage combining for an eye-popping 1.366 OPS. Strausborger highlighted his week with three home runs over the course of two doubleheader games on Wednesday the 27th as the Pelicans split their twinbill with the P-Nats. Prior to that day, Strausborger had just two home runs in his professional career. He also doubled twice, tripled, swiped a bag, drove home nine runs, and scored seven more over his seven games in the leadoff spot. The Osceola, Indiana native lifted his average from .307 to .343 over the course of the week and capped things off by going 8-for-12 in three games against the Keys. In six contests versus Frederick this year, Strausborger is batting .667 (16-for-24) with five doubles, two triples, three runs batted in, and seven runs scored.
Strausborger was selected by the Rangers in the 16th round of the 2010 draft and appeared in 64 games last season for the Short-Season Class A Spokane Indians. The 23-year-old led the Indians in stolen bases and batted .330 over his final 26 Northwest League games. While with the Sycamores in college, Strausborger was an All-Missouri Valley Conference and honorable mention academic all-conference selection as a junior.
Erlin and Strausborger are the latest Myrtle Beach awards honorees in 2011. Pelicans third baseman Mike Olt was tabbed the Carolina League's first Player of the Week for the season back on April 18.
Erlin, Strausborger, and the Pelicans kick off a seven-game road trip Monday night at Potomac's G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium with three games against the Nationals before a four-game swing through Salem for their first meeting of 2011 with the first-place Red Sox. Myrtle Beach begins its road trip one and a half games behind Salem in the Carolina League Southern Division. Tickets for all Pelicans home games can be purchased by visiting the BB&T Coastal Field Box office, the Tickets page at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com, or by calling (843)918-6000 or (877)918-TIXX.