With this 2-0 win, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans have taken a two games to none lead in the best of five Mills Cup Series with the 2015 Carolina League title on the line. Before we dive into the details, lets take a minute to review our history.
This is not the first time we have seen this general group of young pitchers dominate on their way to a league championship. We saw it last year when Kane County, featuring many of these same players, did not lose in the postseason. That team also had a shutout in Game Two of the championship series. To continue that connection, pitching in relief during that shutout a year ago was Tyler Ihrig. He pitched last night for the Pelicans. This is a good group of pitchers.
In fact, it is the best group of pitchers the Cubs’ have had in High A since that awesome 2013 Daytona team (featuring Pierce Johnson, Corey Black, and Carl Edwards, among others) tossed four shutouts during their postseason run.
Last night’s performance was a team effort. Tyler Skulina started the game with five innings of one hit ball, and then handed off to Daury Torrez (who is typically a starter himself) for two scoreless innings. Tyler Ihrig took care of the eighth, and closer David Berg added his fourth scoreless inning of the postseason to nail things down.
Pin-Chieh Chen scored both runs, one in the first one in the ninth, and both times Victor Caratini drove him home. Hitting between those two was Chicago right fielder Jorge Soler, continuing his rehab assignment.
Performances of Note
- Pin-Chieh Chen finished 2 for 4. Victor Caratini was 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles.
- Jorge Soler finished 1 for 4 with one strikeout. His one hit came in the ninth and moved Chen into scoring position.
- Tyler Skulina struck out 6 in his 5 innings of work, allowed one hit and struck out 2.
- Daury Torrez gave up 2 hits and walk in his 2 innings, striking out one. Tyler Ihrig struck out a pair and yielded a hit in his one inning of work.
- David Berg… every time it seems like he gets the job done. Once again he was methodically efficient: three batters, three ground outs. His postseason Ground Out / Air Out ratio is currently incalculable because he hasn’t allowed a fly ball in the postseason. Keep an eye on him next season.
This win means the Pelicans are just one win away from clinching the best of five series, and that means you may only have one more chance to see this team in action on MiLB.tv. Game Three will be in Myrtle Beach on Wednesday starting at 7:05 PM ET.
On the mound for the Pelicans will be one of the best pitching prospects in the system, Duane Underwood. Underwood was beaten up a bit by Winston-Salem his last time out, and his overall season numbers have not been great as he has fought injuries, but his stuff is for real. If he has command of that stuff tomorrow night I suspect Game Three ends the series. If not, the Pelicans may need to reach into that deep and talented bullpen one more time (or bank on Brad Markey in Game Four, which, as fall back plans go, is a pretty good one).
The Pelicans’ offense will not have it easy, though. Taking the mound for Wilmington will be Alec Mills, a 6’4″ right hander with a season ERA of 3.02 and 111 strikeouts in 113.1 innings during the regular season. Myrtle Beach has faced Mills twice this season, but the most recent game was April 28. In his last start, during Wilmington’s first round playoff series win, Mills tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out six in the process.
Should Myrtle Beach not sweep the series on Wednesday, they will remain at home for however many more games are necessary.