By GEOFF MOSHER
Camden starters Lincoln Mikkelsen and Kevin Dougherty combined to toss 13 scoreless innings Tuesday night, and the Camden Riversharks eliminated the Somerset Patriots from postseason contention with a doubleheader sweep Tuesday night before 4,235 fans at Commerce Bank Ballpark.
Camden followed up a 6-0 Game 1 victory with a 3-0 nightcap win as Somerset fell five games behind Camden in the wild-card race with five games to play. Somerset can only finish in a tie with Camden, which owns a 10-6 head-to- head ledger with two games remaining in this series.
The sweep keeps the Riversharks' chances for a wild-card playoff berth very much alive. The Sharks have the Atlantic League's best overall record at 69-52. The Sharks can only make the playoffs in Bridgeport holds off Long Island for the second-half title in the North Division. Bridgeport leads Long Island by 2 1/2 games.
Mikkelsen tossed his second consecutive complete game, improved to 3-0 this season against Somerset with a 0.42 ERA and earned his 16th victory to set a new Atlantic League single-season record.
"I threw good in the bullpen and told my pitching coach ( SteveFoucault) there's no reason I shouldn't shut them out," Mikkelsen said. "I've pitched well here before. It's good for us to come out and win this game. We look good right now."
"He made it seem like he wasn't going to give in or give you anything good to hit," Patriots center fielder Michael Warner said.
"He just stayed away, away, away. He seems like a much better pitcher than last year. He doesn't throw real hard, but he mixes his pitches up real well."
Mikkelsen (16-6) allowed just three hits and struck to eight to surpass Lenin Picota, who won 15 games last season for the Nashua Pride. Dwight Maness added four hits, including a first-inning single to break a scoreless tie, paving the way for Camden to finish off Somerset in the nightcap.
"There's a saying: It's time for champions to lose sometimes,"Patriots manager Sparky Lyle said. "We've played the best we could with what we had, with our injuries and trying to get through this and that. We did it up to the last five games. I'm proud of these guys."
The victories bring closure to this postseason run for the Patriots, who have appeared in the last three Atlantic League championship series and missed the playoffs only in the inaugural 1998 season.
Maness, a former Patriot who finished the twinbill 5-for- 6 with three RBIs, produced two of the three second-game runs - another first-inning RBI single and a sacrifice fly in the third.