The Chatham half of the Independence Day home and home series between the Anglers and Orleans went the way of the Firebirds Monday night, after four defensive errors and a controversial balk call on Chatham right hander Greg Larson (Florida) in the eighth led to the tie-breaking run to put Orleans up 2-1 to take the win. Chatham's record now stands at 11-7-1, third best in the Eastern Division.
The Anglers struck first in the third inning after a leadoff single by second baseman Dan Paolini (Siena). He was advanced to second on a walk by catcher Jacob Stallings (UNC), and over to third on a bunt single laid down the third base line by Jason Martin (San Jose St.) that somehow stayed just in fair territory to load the bases. Brian Humphries (Pepperdine) then stepped in and smashed an RBI sacrifice fly to center to bring home Paolini and put Chatham up 1-0. An outstanding defensive effort by Orleans second baseman Kolten Wong (Hawaii), who caught a Stepehen Perez (Miami) line drive with a backhand and flipped to shortstop Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt) covering second, ended the inning on a double play.
The Chatham lead would hold into the seventh, on the back of a great outing by starting right hander Chris Munnelly (UNC) who through six had allowed just two hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
An error by third baseman Mark Ginther (Oklahoma St.) allowed the leadoff batter Esposito to reach in the seventh. A one-out single by Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke) then advanced Esposito to second. With right fielder Steve Selsky (Arizona) at the plate, a pitch from Munnelly glanced off the glove of Stallings which gave both runners a window to advance. Stallings, with his excellent defensive skills, retrieved the pitch and fired to third just ahead of the sliding Esposito, with Piwnica-Worms advancing to second. An RBI single by Selsky tied the score 1-1 at the end of seven. That would end the day for Munnelly, who allowed just one run on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts
Larson came on to start the eighth, allowing a leadoff single by Wong. With Matt Newman (Arizona St.) at the plate in the next at-bat, Wong bluffed a move to second, drawing Larson off the rubber and inducing the balk call. Chatham manager John Schiffner vehemently argued the ruling, but to no avail. Newman then slapped a hard grounder to the right side, with Paolini unable to field it on a bad hop off of his leg to score Wong, giving the Firebirds a 2-1 lead. Three Orleans relievers pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and facing just one over the minimum to close out the contest. Orleans' record now stands at 8-12, fourth best in the Eastern Division.
The Anglers remain at home Tuesday night and welcome the Brewster Whitecaps to town for a 7pm start. Tune in to the broadcast beginning at 6:40pm with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at www.chathamanglers.com, or turn your dial into a radio dial with the TRZ Teamline at 1-800-846-4700, team code 3841.