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Legends On Deck

Minor League Pitching Duel of the Day: May 22nd

The Pelicans pushed across five runs in the bottom of the third inning to take control of the game, and in the process chased the Potomac Nationals starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, which allowed Pelicans starter Duane Underwood to settle in after a bumpy start. Underwood allowed two singles and a walk in the first inning and solo home runs in the second and third innings. Innings four through six were much better and he left with a 6-2 lead, both bullpens allowed two runs to score in the eighth inning.

Duane Underwood got the win (5-0), Reynaldo Lopez took the loss (2-1), and Jasvir Rakkar got the last five outs for his sixth save.

Reynaldo Lopez and Duane Underwood are two rising stars in the minors and both have mid rotation upside or more, thus making them an easy choice for the minor league pitching duel of the day.

The Nationals got off to a quick start in the top of the first, with back to back singles by Chris Bostic (hits in seven of his last nine games) and Stephen Perez (hits in seven of his last eight games.) Underwood was able to pick Bostic off of second base, then allowed a flyout, a walk, and ground out to escape the first inning. With one out in the second inning Brandon Miller took Underwood deep to left center for his fifth home run. Leading off the third inning Chris Bostic lined his first home run for the season over the left center field.

After two singles and a walk to start the home half of the third inning, Pin-Chieh Chen (11th hit in 30 at bats since coming to Myrtle Beach on May 15th from Double-A Tennessee) doubled in two runs, after a ground out. Jacob Rogers smacked a two run single, and after the second out was recorded via strikeout, that was the end of the night for Reynaldo Lopez. Kevin Brown greeted Kevin Perez with a double to right that scored Rogers for the fifth run of the inning. The Pelicans scored another run, their sixth of the night in the fourth inning. Daniel Lockhart led off with a double, he was sacrificed to third base and scored on a sac fly.

Both teams scored twice in the eighth inning, the Nationals on a solo home run by Isaac Ballou, his third on the season, and a triple by John Wooten (hits in five of his last six games and eight of 10,) he came home on a one-out single from Khayyan Norfork. The Pelicans responded in the bottom of the frame with two runs of their own on RBI singles by Trey Martin and Mark Zagunis (11 game hitting streak and hits in 19 of his last 21 games)

Neither pitcher seemed to bring their A-game tonight, and they’re not always going to, but Underwood did a better job of limiting the damage. Two very talented arms though and both could be top 50 prospects by the end of the season.

Reynaldo Lopez- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s

Lopez throws a heavy mid to upper 90’s fastball, a developing mid 80’s change, and a high 70’s curve. He typically gets a lot of ground balls and a lot of strikeouts when he’s on.

Duane Underwood- 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s

Underwood throws a low to mid 90’s fastball and a high 70’s curve and change that both flash plus, potential mid rotation arm or perhaps more with improved command.

These two teams will meet again tomorrow in game two of the four game set, and i’ll be back tomorrow with another minor league pitching duel of the day.

John Calvagno

John is a staff writer for legends on deck. A Red Sox fan and Minor league enthusiast, he's usually writing about minor league baseball.John also loves Bruins hockey and Syracuse basketball.
John is married with two grown daughters and lives in Asheville, NC.
you can find John on Twitter @AshevilleSoxFan