Birds blanked in series opener with Mudcats

Pelicans strand tying run at third base in bottom of ninth

Right-hander Paul Blackburn fired 5 1/3 innings on Saturday but suffered the tough-luck 1-0 loss. (Larry Kave / Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Mason Robinson / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | July 25, 2015 5:24 PM ET

­­MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (JULY 25, 2015) - A pitchers' duel ensued into the sixth inning on Saturday night, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, were bested by the Carolina Mudcats 1-0 at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The Birds have now lost four consecutive games after winning eight in-a-row from July 13‒21.

In his third start since returning from the disabled list on July 13, Pelicans starter Paul Blackburn stretched his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 12 2/3 frames, shutting out the Mudcats through the first five innings on Saturday. However Carolina (49-50, 15-15 second half) broke open the scoring when first baseman Jacob Schrader doubled down the left field line, scoring left fielder Dustin Peterson from second base to take a 1-0 lead.

That hit was only the fourth of the game off of Blackburn, but it ended the right-hander's night at 5 1/3 innings of work. Blackburn (4-4) struck out four batters and walked just one while also hitting a man. The one earned run he allowed was just enough to hand him the tough-luck loss.

Fellow righty David Garner took over for Blackburn and tossed 1 2/3 shutout frames, striking out one and walking one. David Berg and Jasvir Rakkar also combined for two scoreless innings out of the Pelicans' bullpen.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Pelicans (56-43, 15-15 second half) loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks, but they failed to score.

In the last of the ninth, designated hitter Kevin Brown lined a one-out single into left field, and the ball skipped away from Peterson, sending Brown to third base. Yet with the tying run 90 feet from scoring, Daniel Lockhart struck out swinging before Carlos Penalver grounded out to third base to end the game.

In his fourth appearance against Myrtle Beach, Mudcats starting pitcher Seth Webster (5-6) fired seven shutout innings to pick up the victory on Saturday. The Pelicans put runners on with four hits against the righty but were turned away each time. The win improved him to 3-1 against Myrtle Beach, and two of those three wins have been seven-inning shutout efforts.

Major League rehabber Josh Outman took over on the mound in the eighth and pitched 2/3 of a scoreless frame in which he allowed a hit and walked a batter. Bradley Roney finished the game with 1 1/3 innings out of the Mudcats bullpen en route to his first save of the year.

Chesny Young, who broke the Carolina League consecutive on-base record last Sunday, extended that streak to 44 games with his eighth-inning single to right field on Saturday. That hit also extended his career-high hit-streak to 14 games, which is the longest by a Pelicans hitter this year, besting Mark Zagunis' 12-game streak from May 8‒22. Young's streak is also the longest active hit-streak in the Carolina League.

Despite the fourth consecutive loss, Myrtle Beach still owns the best overall record in the Carolina League this season. The defeat ties the Birds with Carolina in second-place in the Carolina League Southern Division standings, 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Winston-Salem Dash.

The Pelicans continue their three-game series with the Mudcats with a 6:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Birds will hand the ball to right-hander Brad Markey (2-0, 1.08), while the Mudcats will oppose with right-hander Rob Whalen (---, -.--), who makes his organization debut after coming to the Braves in a trade yesterday.

The game can be heard live on 1450 WRNN-AM ESPN Myrtle Beach, on the TuneIn Radio App, and via the MiLB First Pitch App, beginning with the Pregame Show at 5:45 p.m. ET. The game will also air along with live streaming video on MiLB.tv (subscription required).

Sunday will be Christmas Vacation in July featuring an alpine hat giveaway to the first 1,000 fans, courtesy of Fairfield Inn Marriott and Star 92.1. Pelicans players will also wear custom Christmas-themed jerseys, and those jerseys will be available for auction at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Auctions.

Sunday will also be a Toys for Tots Toy Drive, and fans are invited to see another East Coast Pyrotechnics Fireworks Extravaganza.

The 2015 season marks the 17th season for the Pelicans franchise and first as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2015, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail info@myrtlebeachpelicans.com, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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