The bad news is Jorge Soler struck out three times in his five trips to the plate. He also walked and doubled, but the three strikeouts are certainly not what we were hoping to see as he prepares to make his return to the major leagues for the final stretch to the postseason.
The good news is that Myrtle Beach, thanks in part to Soler, found just enough offense to win Game One of the best of five Mills Cup (Carolina League Championship) Series 3-2 in ten innings.
The Pelicans fell behind early when Jen-Ho Tseng gave up a solo home run in the second inning, but Tseng and the bullpen proceeded to keep Willington off the board until the ninth inning. Thanks to a two run rally in the top of the sixth, one that included Soler’s RBI double, the Pelicans entered the ninth with a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately Jasvir Rakkar loaded the bases with no one out to start the ninth, and before David Berg could end the inning the tying run had crossed the plate.
Performances of Note
- Jen-Ho Tseng allowed one run, on a solo homer, over 6 innings. He gave up 3 hits and a walk and struck out 4.
- Josh Conway pitched well in relief, allowing nothing but a walk and striking out a pair over 1.2 innings of work. David Berg gave up nothing but ground outs in his 2 innings of work, striking out 2.
- Jorge Soler (1 for 4, walk) had one of the Pelicans’ two doubles in this one. Daniel Lockart (1 for 4) had the other.
- Victor Caratini led the team with 3 hits. Pin-Chieh Chen added 2 hits.
Game Two of the series will be tonight at 6:35 PM ET in Wilmington. Tyler Skulina (3.11 ERA, 3.57 FIP) will take the mound for the Cubs’ affiliate. Skulina, a 6’5″ right hander, has struck out 73 in 75.1 innings for the Pelicans’ this season, but his walk rate is a touch high (3.70 BB/9) and his five homers allowed on the year imply that Wilmington’s best chance may be to stay patient and to try to wait on a mistake they can hammer.
Facing the Pelicans will be Jake Junis, a 6’2″ right hander who posted a 3.64 ERA over 155.2 innings for Wilmington. Junis does not have the strikeout rate of Skulina (just 7.11 K/9), but he was stingier with the walks in High A (1.68 BB/9), and his FIP of 3.27 is a little lower than his Myrtle Beach counterpart’s.
Win or lose, Tuesday will be an off day. The series will then shift to Myrtle Beach for as many games as are necessary, starting Wednesday evening.