Martha’s Vineyard cools down Silver Knights, 4-1

NASHUA – How do you cool off a hot hitting team?

Well, aside from the chilly June temperatures, with top-notch pitching, of course.

Martha’s Vineyard had just that on Sunday with University of Oklahoma righty Dylan Grove. Grove wasn’t unhittable, but he had plenty of stuff to hold the .288 hitting Nashua Silver Knights to just six hits over seven innings, striking out 11 in a 4-1 Sharks win before 749 fans at Holman Stadium.

"We don’t see guys like that in our league that often," Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said. "He could throw any pitch he had for strikes. He was throwing first-pitch sliders, guys were taking it for strikes, it’s 0-1 and already they’re in trouble."

It was a sharp contrast to the pitching the Knights (7-3) had seen in two games at North Shore on Friday and Saturday, when they scored a combined 20 runs.

"He was good, real good," Knights left fielder John Toppa said after he had a hit but also fanned twice. "He had a power two (seam) that was going in on the hands. … We hadn’t faced great pitching the last couple of games, a lot of doubles, homers. We’re kind of a loose team but maybe today we were a little too loose thinking it was going to continue."

However, Neverett gathered his team on the field after the game to let them know he wasn’t disappointed with the effort. Silver Knights starter Jeremy Roberts (2-1) only gave up five hits during his seven innings, but one of them was a three-run homer off the billboards in left to MV cleanup hitter Alex Lewis in the fourth.

That was all the Sharks (5-5) would need, although they also got a two-out RBI single by Grant Lamberton, scoring Jacon Rhinesmith, who had doubled.

"We played well today," Neverett said. "We got great pitching. He gave up a wind-blown homer to left and an RBI single to right and that’s it."

Nashua did get to Grove in the fifth for a run on two hits after he issued a two-out walk to Harry Roberson. But the Knights didn’t get a chance to extend the inning when Ryan Sullivan, who blooped an RBI single, was thrown out trying to take second.

"That wasn’t good base running there," Neverett said. "I was disappointed, I would’ve like to have seen what might have happened."

In Grove’s final inning, the seventh, the Knights had two on with two out but the MV righty fanned Cam Cruz to leave the game in style after 99 pitches. Then 6-foot-8 reliever Ricky Dennis retired all six hitters he faced over the final two innings.

"Some nights," Neverett said, "you just get beat."