No Early Fireworks for Anglers
The Chatham Anglers hoped to end a three-game losing streak Saturday night in front of a standing-room only crowd at Veterans Field in Chatham.
Instead, the Mariners handed Chatham its fourth consecutive loss, 6-0.
The pitching matchup saw Chatham's right-hander Keith Bilodeau (Maine) square off against Harwich southpaw Nick Routt (Mississippi State). The Anglers liked their chances as Bilodeau came into the contest having thrown a league-best 13.2 scoreless innings on the season.
Both pitchers began by pounding the strike zone. Bilodeau and Routt each threw 5.2 innings, collecting six and nine strikeouts, respectively. The walks allowed were equal at two apiece. The stat that really told the story, however, was hits.
Bilodeau departed having let up 11 hits, while Sean Reilly's (Rollins) single to open the home half of the fifth inning was the sole hit surrendered by Routt.
The next time the Mariners got up to bat, Bilodeau did not seem to have an answer for the Harwich hitters. Jabari Henry (Florida International) led off with a double, followed by a Jake Davies (Georgia Tech) single. An error in centerfield allowed Davies to advance to second base while Henry stood on third.
The at-bat of Austin Wilson (Stanford) led to the game's most bizarre play. Wilson singled, and rightfielder Dane Phillips (Oklahoma State) threw a frozen rope to nab Henry at the dish. After applying the tag, Chatham catcher Matt Roberts (UNC) rifled a throw to second base to cut down Wilson, who was attempting to stretch the single into a double.
Unfortunately for the Anglers, the double play did not end the sixth inning. Neither was it the end of Chatham's defensive woes. After walking Ronnie Richardson (Central Florida), Bilodeau hurt his own cause when his errant pick-off attempt went wide, allowing Richardson to reach second base.
As is often the case in baseball, the mistake did not go unpunished. The next batter made Bilodeau pay. Mike Garza (Georgetown) ripped a RBI single, which brought manager John Schiffner to the mound.
Bilodeau's night was done and Williams College product Harry Marino came in to relieve him. The left-hander would not be on the mound for very long. Three pitches to two batters resulted in a single and a hit batsman, which loaded the bases.
The revolving door of relief pitchers continued with Jeffrey Gibbs (Maine), who would fair no better than his predecessor. He entered in a 3-0 game, and although he managed to close out the top of the sixth inning, it was not before letting up three more runs on two walks and wild pitch.
That 6-0 score would not change for the rest of the night, despite the Anglers having ample opportunity to put runs on the board in the bottom seventh.
Reilly and newcomer Darrell Matthews (Cal), who made his debut in Chatham on Saturday after having played in the College World Series, each singled to start the home half of the seventh. However, the trend of stranding baserunners continued for the Anglers, as the two-on, no out scenario failed to produce any runs.
In addition to the inspiring defense played by Roberts in his debut (he also threw out Alex Swim attempting to steal third in the fifth), Chatham reliever Zack Jones (San Jose State) was another bright spot for the Anglers.
The hard-throwing righty pitched an impressive top of the ninth. After allowing a lead-off hit, he struck out three consecutive batters to end the frame.
The Anglers hit the road Sunday for a 7 p.m. start time in Orleans.