WILMINGTON,NC (news release) -- The Wilmington Sharks took over first place in the CPL South Division with a 6-3 win over the Fayetteville Swampdogs in Fayetteville on Saturday night. The Sharks are now 9-3 in the CPL’s 2nd Half, while Fayetteville drops to 9-4 and into second place.
Chris Mazza earned his fourth win of 2011 as the Sharks took over 1st Place Saturday night. Both the offense and pitching were in sync, with the offense knocking around 10 hits and drawing four walks while Sharks starter Chris Mazza (4-2) was equally as impressive on the mound, tossing 7-1/3 innings while allowing five hits and three runs as he struck out seven Fayetteville batters.
As the case has been all week, the Sharks used a pair of big innings to fuel the win. Down one run, they took the lead with a two-run third inning before stretching the lead in the fifth when they brought five runs home.
Six Sharks tallied at least one hit apiece, with Alex Freedman leading the way with his second-consecutive three-hit night for Wilmington.
Jacob Leonardo and Ricardo Lizcano each had two-hit nights with both driving in one RBI as well.
Justyn Carter and Kenny Bryant both had one hit Saturday night, with each knocking in an RBI in the win. Bryant’s RBI gives him 11 RBIs in the Sharks’ last seven games. K.J. McAllister was the other Shark to tally a hit in the win.
With Fayetteville up 1-0, the Sharks three hits to take the lead in the third inning. Freedman opened the inning with a leadoff single before scoring one batter later on Leonardo’s RBI double. Two batters later, Leonardo traded places with Carter after the Sharks shortstop and 2011 CPL All-Star doubled to right field.
With the same score in the fifth, the Sharks plated four runs on three hits and two Fayetteville errors to push up the lead.
Carter opened the inning by walking before McAllister reached via a bunt single. With two on, Bryant reached on a fielder’s choice that brought home Carter.
Aldrich brought home the second run of the inning with his sacrifice fly RBI that brought home McAllister before Lizcano kept the scoreboard ticking with an RBI single that drove in Bryant.
Two batters later, after Jeff Moyer reached via an error, Lizcano scored on a Fayetteville wild pitch to push the lead to 6-1.
Fayetteville made things interesting in the eighth, scoring two runs after Sharks reliever Chris Dula came in and walked in a runner that he inherited when Mazza exited the game. Wilmington’s Ross Whitely ended the threat by striking out two Swampdogs batters, but he also allowed the second run of the inning to score via a wild pitch.
In the ninth, both teams placed one runner on but could not do anything with it, as Fayetteville popped up and grounded out to end the game with one runner on.
Three Sharks – Aldrich, Carter and Jake Mayers – travel back to Fayetteville take part in the 2011 CPL All-Star festivities on Sunday and Monday nights, with Aldrich participating in the Home Run Derby on Sunday night.
Wilmington gets back into action after the All-Star break on Tuesday night when they welcome the Morehead City Marlins to town on a Time Warner Cable/Z 107.5 Two ‘fer Tuesday with 2-for-1 admission and hot dogs with $2 beverages. Tuesday’s game is also Budweiser Batter-Up Get Away Night where fans can register to win tickets to an Atlanta Braves game. Gates open at 6 p.m. with first pitch at 7:05.
Check out the Coach's Corner on Sunday on WWAY. We'll talk with Sharks head coach Chris Youngberg about the recent turnaround for the Sharks. The Coach's Corner will air at 6pm on Sunday on WWAY.