Pelicans' Hanson proves untouchable

Braves prospect strikes out 13 Blue Rocks over five hitless innings

(Tom Priddy/

By Daren Smith / | April 4, 2008 10:52 PM

Tommy Hanson had one strikeout for every inning in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' season-opening 13-inning victory on Friday. Even more impressively, he watched the final eight frames from the bench.

The 21-year-old right-hander fanned a career-high 13 batters over five hitless innings, long before the Pelicans outlasted the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 2-0, in the Carolina League opener for both teams.

Hanson faced just one batter over the minimum on Opening Night, and the Blue Rocks put only two balls in play against him. After issuing a one-out walk to Chris McConnell in the bottom of the first, he struck out 12 of the next 14 batters.

The only players who got the bat on the ball against Hanson were Joseph Dickerson, who popped out to third base in the second, and McConnell, who grounded out to shortstop in the fourth.

Selected by the Braves in the 22nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Hanson posted a 2.09 ERA in 13 appearances (eight starts) with short-season Danville in 2006. He had a 2.59 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) with Class A Rome last season before a promotion to Myrtle Beach, where the Riverside Community College product went 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 11 starts.

Wilmington's Blake Wood did everything he could to keep pace with Hanson, limiting the Pelicans to one hit while fanning nine over five innings. But both starters were long gone when the outcome was decided.

Gorkys Hernandez, the 2007 Midwest League Player of the Year, led off the 13th with a single and was sacrificed to second by Travis Jones. After Gilbert de la Vara (0-1) intentionally walked Brandon Hicks, Tyler Flowers also walked. One out later, de la Vara issued consecutive free passes to Roberto Alvarez and Willie Cabrera to force in a pair of runs.

Bryan Dumesnil (1-0), the Pelicans' fifth pitcher, walked two and struck out four in two hitless innings for the win. Brett Butts hit a batter but got McConnell to bounce into a game-ending double play for the save, wrapping up Myrtle Beach's three-hit masterpiece.

The Blue Rocks struck out 21 times, setting a team record.

Daren Smith is an editor for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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