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Anglers secure 1st road win, 4-1 over Hyannis, as pitching staff strikes out 18

by Andrew Crane, 07-05-2021

Anglers secure 1st road win, 4-1 over Hyannis, as pitching staff strikes out 18

HYANNIS — It was a glimpse of something that’d evaded Chatham so far this season, the hits that followed hits and runs that followed runs — all sandwiched between the two outs that bookended an inning. The Anglers always had the big hit, but not the little ones that added up. They’d scored in bunches, but never with a foundation or blueprint that proved repeatable when the long ball fell silent.

That changed when outfielder Matt Hogan (Vanderbilt) scampered from second to third base following a ball that spiked in front of the Hyannis catcher. It was the second inning, neither the Anglers nor the Harbor Hawks had crossed the plate, and when Josh Rivera (Florida) stole second base eight pitches later, they had their first true scoring opportunity on Monday. They converted when Matt Garcia (Chipola), the No. 9 hitter, ripped a low liner through the middle of the field to score the pair of runners when the Harbor Hawks’ centerfielder bobbled the ball.

“We need to run because we're not gonna hit the long ball all the time,” Chatham manager Tom Holliday said postgame. “That was kinda like what I've been wanting to do right there.”

Chatham added another run later in the inning, then another in the third, and when that paired with another near-shutout by the Anglers pitching staff against the Harbor Hawks, it carried them to a 4-1 win for their second victory in three games. Adam Tulloch (West Virginia) escaped a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the fourth inning to extend his scoreless streak to 11 innings. Four shutout innings from the bullpen and 19 strikeouts between the four pitchers made the early lead stand as the Anglers inched back toward .500.

“When we pitch that tight,” Holliday said, “we should win.”

But it was those final three outs from Tulloch, the three strikeouts that came after two singles paired with a walk to end a no-hit bid and load the bases, that kept the lead intact. He mixed swings and misses with well-placed sliders and changeups to strike out Caleb Pendleton, Mitchell Hartigan and Luke Mann in order — the final one coming when he snuck in a backdoor curveball and sprinted off the mound with a fist pump.

Throughout the first three weeks of the season, as the calendar flipped from June to July and Chatham’s long-term roster started to take shape, Tulloch emerged at the top of the rotation. He entered behind Aaron Davenport for his first two appearances, which included one inning where he threw all fastballs, but jumped into a starting spot when Davenport was released. Each approach during a count reflected an aggressiveness honed at West Virginia this past season, his third college in three years, as Tulloch learned the importance of getting ahead in counts and utilizing the advantage, he said on June 22.

He likes to throw in on the hands when ahead. Low and outside when behind. And each contained a greater understanding of how to contain, and capitalize, sharp horizontal and movement. Tulloch ended the first inning by striking out Marcos Pujols looking, then added seven more over the last 11 outs he recorded before exiting. He “made it look easy” for the first three innings, Holliday said, and Tulloch was a perfect “fit” for the Hyannis order because of their reliance on left-handed hitters.

In between those strikeouts came the burst that ignited Chatham’s offense. Hogan, playing in his second game with the Anglers, drew a four-pitch walk and came around to score. And the Anglers extended their lead in the third when Hogan opened a second consecutive inning by reaching base, this time lining a pitch up the middle that bounced off the white and green cleat of Hyannis pitcher Seth Halvorsen and toward an open patch of grass by third base. Another passed ball through Pendleton’s legs behind the plate advanced him to second, then Hogan stole third, and he scored when Dominic Tamez hit a broken-bat grounder to third. Hogan beat the throw to the plate with a head-first slide that paired with a dropped throw dribbling.

“The bottom line is we're gonna bunt, we're gonna run and we're gonna look for some base hits, some contact base hits, instead of always playing for the home run,” Holliday said.

Rivera then drew a four-pitch walk, one of three times he reached base against the Harbor Hawks, to put runners on first and second with one out, but a Hyannis pitching change, a looking strikeout and groundout ended the threat. That run support was enough, though, when Chatham’s pitchers rebounded from an Independence Day game against Orleans when they walked 10 batters and turned a one-run game into a blowout. Jacob Watters, Tulloch’s teammate at West Virginia, relieved the starter and threw three hitless innings while hitting as high as 98 on the radar gun — which he reached on the pitch that recorded his first strikeout of the sixth inning — in his longest outing of the season.

The Harbor Hawks scored their only run in the ninth when a single, two stolen bases and an overthrow by Tamez brought Dominic Johnson around the bases, but the largest threat to Chatham’s lead came the inning prior. Hyannis loaded the bases through two walks and a hit batter, and Adam Scoggins found himself in a similar situation to Tulloch.

Two strikeouts followed, capped by a Tamez fist pump off to the left following the second, and the Anglers escaped the jam. Scoggins shook his head while walking off the mound, where Tamez met him to pat his back, and walked into the Chatham dugout to high-fives from his teammates — past the spot where Tulloch had done the same an inning earlier and the spot where Trevor Martin would walk too, after he struck out the final Hyannis batter looking and sealed the Anglers’ first road win this season.