Following a rainout Saturday evening at Bourne, the Chatham Anglers (6-2) return to Veterans Field to take on the Cotuit Kettleers (4-5) for the second time this season. Eight of Chathams first 11 games feature a West Division opponent; Sunday's game marks the sixth of those eight.
"When there's a rainout, you just have to get ready to play the next day," said manager John Schiffner
. "The worst year for our team was in 1998 when we played 39 days in a row from the start of the season. There were a lot of rainouts and fog-outs that year. The kids have to understand that there's a tight schedule in this league and that they'll be playing baseball almost every day."
In the previous Chatham-Cotuit meeting on June 15, four Cotuit arms combined to shut out Chatham 3-0. The Kettleers held the Anglers to four hits and two walks. Kurt Schluter
(1-1, 2.70 ERA) (Stetson) took the hard luck loss for Chatham, despite allowing only one run in five innings. Ryan Connolly
(1-0, 3.00 ERA) (Coastal Carolina) picked up the win in relief, surrendering just two hits in three innings. Dan Slania
(1-0, 0.00 ERA) (Notre Dame) notched the save, striking out three of the four Anglers he faced. Chatham responded to its first loss of the season with nine runs the next day vs. Y-D in the first of three straight wins.
Chatham aims for its second three-game winning streak of the season on Sunday, having scored nine runs in each of the last two games (9-3 vs. Bourne Thursday and 9-2 Friday at Y-D). The recent offense has been bolstered by patient at-bats leading to Chatham's league-leading 37 bases on balls. Meanwhile, the Anglers' pitching staff has surrendered the fewest earned runs in the Cape League with 22.
On Sunday night, Chatham will need to move runners into scoring position by hitting some ground balls, a task the Anglers did not accomplish in their first game against Cotuit. With both left fielder Aaron Brown
(Pepperdine) and infielder Chad Pinder
(Virginia Tech) out of the lineup on Sunday, the Anglers will be led at the plate by outfielder Tom Bourdon
(Boston College). Bourdon has come on of late and is hitting .333 in the young season.
"We have to move our base-runners over whenever we can," said Schiffner. "You can't score runs in this league without moving runners over into scoring position."
Right-hander Eric Stevens contributed to Chatham's impressive staff 2.75 ERA with six scoreless innings last time out vs. Brewster on June 18. The Boston College sophomore (1-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start of the season Sunday in hopes of replicating his Chatham debut, as the six-foot-five workhorse flirted with a perfect game through six and a third innings, allowing one hit and hitting one batter. Stevens faces a Kettleer offense hitting .269 on the season and will be caught by John Martinez
(Michigan State), who was not behind the plate for Stevens' last start.
"Eric needs to throw strikes and we'll figure out the rest from there," said manager John Schiffner. "He needs to make Cotuit earn their way on base."
Coach Mike Roberts turns to the only starter on his staff who hasnt allowed an earned run so far this season, lefty Kevin Ziomek
(1-0, 0.00 ERA) from Vanderbilt. Ziomek was dominant in his first outing June 18, allowing one unearned run over five and a third and striking out eight batters vs. Hyannis. Facing one of the SEC's best strikeout pitchers, who fanned 79 batters in the regular season, the Anglers will need to be selective at the plate.
For live coverage of Sunday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame show with broadcasters Brandon Liebhaber and Chris Fitzgerald at 6:40 p.m. at TRZ Teamline