Carlos Vasquez pitched 7 solid innings, and the Sharks infield put on a defensive clinic en route to a 5-2 victory tonight over the Somerset Patriots.
Vasquez retired the first 9 batters he faced before Patriots centerfielder Joe Holden poked a single through the infield in the bottom of the 4th. But the threat was neutralized one batter later when Michael Hernandez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Sharks got on the board first in the top of the fifth, when Juan Francia's RBI single scored Drew Macias to make it 1-0.
Camden added 2 more in the top of the 6th. With Brian Burgamy on first, Pedro Feliz launched a home run over the left field wall of TD Bank Park to make it 3-0.
Every time Vasquez got into a little trouble, the defense came up big to bail him out. The infield turned three consecutive inning-ending double plays in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings.
The Patriots rallied in the bottom of the 7th when Jeff Nettles sac fly scored Michael Hernandez, and first baseman Justin Huber singled in Josh Pressley to make it 3-2.
But the Sharks added some insurance runs in the top of the 9th on base hits from Juan Francia, Lloyd Turner and Brian Burgamy to make it 5-2. And closer Brian Stokes retired the Patriots 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th to pick up his 4th save.
The Good: This was maybe the best Sharks game I've seen this season (besides the Noah Hall walk-off win earlier this month). Solid pitching (who would've thought), great defense, and clutch hits made it a VERY enjoyable night to be a Sharks fan.
Jay Marshall got the Sharks out of a HUGE jam in the bottom of the eighth without giving up a run. With runners on the corners and one out, Marshall got pinch hitter Wayne Lydon on an infield pop out. Norris Hopper hit a comebacker to the mound that Marshall was able to corral and throw to first for out number three.
The Bad: Coming on in relief of Vasquez, righty Mumba Rivera gave up a double and allowed catcher John Pachot to reach on an error before getting the hook.
The Ugly: The Patriots jerseys available for purchase in the team store, which have what look to be futuristic epaulettes on their sleeves. Think Mercury Mets.