Hopes Dashed: Winston falls just short, loses to Myrtle Beach 7-6

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — It was a back-and-forth affair, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans ended up on top 7-6 as Konnor Pilkington struggled throughout his start.

Pilkington had by far his worst start of the season. Things got off to a rough beginning in the first, where several Dash pitchers have struggled this year. The no-hitter ended a few pitches into the first batter, who singled up through the middle. Jameson Fisher, normally the most reliably good first baseman in the world, straight up didn’t make the catch when Pilkington attempted a pickoff, and the runner advanced all the way to third. A single followed, and the Dash found themselves in a 1-0 hole after just two batters.

A combination of two singles, a steal of third, and a double contributed to a two-run third for the Pelicans. It was the sixth inning that really damned Pilkington, though. He entered the inning with a pitch count in the high 80s and having allowed a good amount of baserunners. Things did not improve, although he wasn’t helped by his defense. He allowed the first four batters to reach, and they all scored, three of them on a truly massive home run to left field. That was it and he departed without recording an out. His final line: 5 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K; he threw 91 pitches, 59 for strikes. Obviously, this isn’t a good result, but if you’re looking for a silver lining, Pilkington walked only one over his five-plus innings. He walks a little over five batters per nine normally; this is the first start since May 1 where he’s walked just one.

Will Kincanon came on in relief and gave up a single and a walk, but was able to end the inning without further damage. Tyler Johnson continues to work his way back from a lat strain, and after throwing three scoreless with the AZL White Sox, he’s been assigned to Winston-Salem. He threw his fourth inning of the year tonight, and it was a breeze. Sitting mid-90s, the 2017 fifth-round pick struck out the first batter faced and got two groundouts, efficiently pitching around an error. Jose Nin finished things up, pitching two strong scoreless innings, walking two but giving up no runs and striking out two as well. Nin has generally been wild, but effective when his command is there and was throwing around 95 mph tonight with at least one 97 mph sighting.

The Dash’s trouble hitting with runners in scoring position continued. Despite 16 baserunners (13 hits**, two walks, and one hit by pitch), they scored only six runs. Steele Walker continues to hit everything baseball-shaped and near the plate, and ended up with three hits, including a two-run double. Tate Blackman returned after spending a month on the IL with an unspecified injury. Prior, he was hitting very poorly, although his eye never suffered and despite an average closer to .100 than .200, his OBP was .298. Tonight, he reintroduced himself to the Winston baseball scene with a bang. He singled and scored on Yeyson Yrizarri’s double, serving as the first Dash run in the third. He also drove in a run with a double in the fourth. His third time reaching was via walk, although he didn’t get too far. He, Yrizarri, Craig Dedelow, and Carlos Perez all had two hits.

Zach Remillard, the Dash’s most consistent hitter, had grounded into two double plays coming into yesterday’s game. He grounded into one yesterday and two today to more than double his season total. There were actually six double plays between both teams, four by the Pelicans and two turned by the Dash. The Pelicans stole three bases but were also caught stealing twice on two consecutive perfect throws by Perez in the eighth. Perez also had a passed ball, and Fisher, Yrizarri, and Roman all made errors as well, although only one Pelicans run was unearned. 

The Dash will return next week on the Fourth of July, and sources say it should be a rip-roaring good time. Maybe even Andrew Vaughn will be there.

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