Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hammes, Bullpen Come Up Big In Close Win

By: Jake Levy

The Camden Riversharks lost their All-Star starter Ricky Brooks to the Colorado Rockies early Saturday afternoon, an arm that the Sharks will surely miss in a starting rotation that had seemed to lean on his 6-1 record.

If the bullpen pitches the way it has in the first two games of the second half, it doesn't matter who starts the game.

The bullpen has provided 7.2 innings of scoreless ball, including four on Saturday, to help the Sharks secure a 2-1 victory over the Somerset Patriots.

Mike McGuire got the start for Camden, and pitched himself into danger early and often. In the first he put runners at the corners with one out for Jesse Hoorelbeke, who has been a terror for Riversharks (1-1, 35-36) pitching this season. But McGuire induced a 5-4-3 double play to get out of trouble.

In the second McGuire gave up three straight singles to lead off the inning, loading the bases for Yusuf Carter, who has four home runs in his last five games. But another double play limited the damage. Jake Fox scored on the play, but McGuire was able to get through the inning with just one run coming across. The Patriots bounced into four double plays in the game.

The lone run looked to be enough for Somerset (1-1, 36-36) starter Sean Green. The former major leaguer went six shutout innings, scattering five hits while striking out nine batters. He left it up to T.J. Hose in the seventh and, thanks to a pair of Jeff Nettles errors, he gave up the lead.

With one out in the inning Jake Eigsti grounded one through Nettles legs into left. After Chris Walker was set down on strikes, Paddy Matera hit a ground ball sharply down the third base line. Nettles made a diving stop and tried to pop to his feet to make the throw, but he stumbled mid throw and wound up throwing the ball wide of first, getting past Jake Fox into right. It was ruled a single but with the arid throw both runners advanced, marking the second error against Nettles in the inning.

With two down and two runners in scoring position, Eduardo Perez delivered a single back up the middle, plating both runners in what would eventually be the winning hit.

The scoring surrounded Mariano Gomez's 1.1 innings of work, giving him the win. Gomez (2-1) gave up a pair of hits and struck out one to get his first win of the second half and first since June 1.

Josh Walter came on to finish the seventh, stranding an inherited runner at second base. Zach Hammes followed up with two perfect innings, including a strike out, to pick up his first save of the season. The win evens the series and pulls Camden back within a half game of Somerset in the overall standings.

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