Hatch leads Myrtle Beach to division title

Pelicans clinch first half Southern Division championship with 3-0 win over Frederick

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans punched their ticket to the 2017 Carolina League playoffs with their 3-0 win over Frederick on Wednesday. (Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Joey Liberatore / Myrtle Beach Pelicans | June 14, 2017 10:51 PM ET

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (June 14, 2017) - Myrtle Beach clinched the first half Southern Division championship with their second consecutive shutout of Frederick behind eight shutout frames from Thomas Hatch in the Pelicans' 3-0 victory over the Keys on Wednesday night from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. 

Hatch (2-6) was in command for Myrtle Beach (40-26) throughout the entire evening. The right-hander tossed eight shutout innings and mowed down seven Frederick (29-36) batters. James Norwood entered the contest in the top of the ninth inning and struck out a pair of Keys to lock down his fourth save of the season and the Pelicans' league-leading ninth shutout of the campaign. Myrtle Beach has now tossed 22 consecutive innings, which ties a franchise record. 

Bryant Flete kicked off the Myrtle Beach offense with a leadoff double in the first inning. P.J. Higgins laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Flete to third. Daniel Spingola struck out swinging on a wild pitch that got past the catcher and allowed Flete to score the game's first run. 

Myrtle Beach would continue their offensive pursuit in the second. With one out in the inning, Robert Garcia  ripped a base hit to right field before Trent Giambrone launched his fifth home run of the season to extend the Birds' lead to 3-0. 

With the Myrtle Beach victory and a Buies Creek loss, the Pelicans have clinched the first half Southern Division title. This marks the seventh straight season that the Pelicans will reach the playoffs, which is the longest streak in the Carolina League since Kinston appeared in seven straight from 2001-07. 

Myrtle Beach will play the remainder of their first half games in Kinston, N.C., against the Down East Wood Ducks. The Pelicans will send LHP Justin Steele (4-3, 2.51 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Richelson Pena (4-2, 3.18 ERA) in game one of their four-game set in Thursday's 7:00 p.m. contest. Coverage will begin at 6:45 on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, the MiLB First Pitch app and TuneIn.

The 2017 season is the 19th season for the Pelicans franchise and third as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2017, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail info@myrtlebeachpelicans.com, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.

ABOUT THE PELICANS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play their home games at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in each of the last six seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences in all of sports in each of the last six years and the best in the Carolina League for six straight seasons as well. In May 2015, TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark won the 2015 TripAdvisor.com Certificate of Excellence award. The Pelicans are the two-time defending Mills Cup Champions, winning the title in 2015 and 2016 as well as 2000 and co-Mills Cup championship honors in the inaugural 1999 season. The Pelicans have made ten postseason appearances behind 12 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season and second half of 2016. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing Info@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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