Zach Clark tossed a complete game three-hit shutout to pitch the Tides past the Gwinnett Braves 4-0 in front of 7,704 fans Friday night at Harbor Park.
Clark (5-2) was brilliant as he struck out five without walking a batter to help the Tides register their fourth straight win. Over that span, Norfolk has tossed three shutouts while allowing just one run over 32 innings.
Clark retired each of the last 14 batters he faced and needed just 95 pitches – 71 for strikes – in the complete game effort. The victory was his 15th of the season, putting him in a tie for second among all minor league pitchers, one shy of Class-A Modesto’s Christian Bergman.
The nine-inning complete game shutout was Norfolk’s 2nd of the season, following a complete game effort from Brian Matusz on July 6 at Charlotte.
The Tides got all the runs they would need in the fifth inning, as Jamie Hoffmann belted a leadoff homer off Gwinnett starter Yohan Flande (6-11). The home run was Hoffmann’s 10th of the season and his 4th against the Braves in 2012.
Norfolk added three insurance runs in the eighth inning on RBI hits by Ronny Paulino and Joe Mahoney and a bases loaded walk of Endy Chavez.
Sammie Starr, promoted from Delmarva earlier Friday, made his first appearance for the Tides this season to become the 75th different player used by Norfolk in 2012. The 75 players is a new International League record, surpassing the 74 players used by the 2003 Louisville Bats.
The two clubs will continue their four-game set on Saturday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 7:15. Dana Eveland (5-5. 2.77) will take the hill for the Tides against left-hander Daniel Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00).
Saturday night is Fan Appreciation Night at Harbor Park, as thousands of fans will win prizes throughout the ballgame. There will also be a postgame fireworks show, courtesy of the Norfolk Admirals.