Having an ace on the pitching staff is a crucial element of any successful team. The returns are still early, but the SwampDogs appear to have found one in Blake Schriever.
Making his second start for Fayetteville Wednesday at Wilmington, Schriever (Cal State Northridge) turned in seven commanding innings as the SwampDogs notched their third straight win (second in CPL play), beating the Sharks 7-2.
"It feels good to get this team back on a winning streak," Schriever said after the game. "The team played real good defense behind me and the offense supplied a good amount of run support."
Schriever, who now sits at 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA on the season, put the Sharks on the defensive in the batter's box all night long by throwing 60 of his 88 pitches for strikes.
"I was able to get ahead of most of the batters I faced today, which was a big key to my success," he said. "Nate [Monastra] and I had a good plan of how to attack these hitters."
While Schriever kept the Sharks from doing much damage at the plate, his teammates did plenty of their own. The SwampDogs never trailed in the game, scoring two runs in the second, sixth and seventh innings, plus one in the fifth.
"To have [Blake] not be afraid to pound the zone…is the picture-perfect vision of an effective pitcher," said infielder Alex Garland. "It takes the pressure off of our offense."
Garland (Georgia Gwinnett) and Tyler Shuck (Florida Gulf Coast) each had a pair of both hits and RBIs on the night, while Brett Young (Delta State) and Jay Hayes (Florida Gulf Coast) combined to drive in two more on five hits.
"It feels as if we are just getting started," Garland said. "Combining timely hits and making plays that help prevent runs scored [are allowing] us as a whole to have success."
The SwampDogs are back at The Swamp Thursday for a battle against the Morehead City Marlins. Gates open at 6 p.m. with the first pitch at 7:05.