The Chatham Anglers came out on the losing end of a pitchers duel on Friday evening, falling 2-1 to the Falmouth Commodores at Guv Fuller Field. In a game that took just two hours and fourteen minutes, the Anglers (7-5) were unable to get over the hump against a Commodore team that went hitless in only two innings of play.
"We played well," said manager John Schiffner. "We didn't get as many hits as we should have, but tonight was a good college baseball game. There was a lot of good pitching. We played good defense. We didn't make a lot of mistakes. The other team just pitched a little bit better than us. There's not much to say."
St. John's Sean Hagan (1-0, 8.00 ERA) was credited with the win for Falmouth. The six-foot six lefty threw seven innings, allowed one run on two hits and struck out five batters. The Commodore bullpen provided Hagan with plenty of support, conceding one hit and recording four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Rice right-hander John Simms (0-1, 3.38 ERA) earned his second save of the season for Falmouth (8-5), who currently leads the Western Division with 16 points.
North Carolina southpaw Tate Parrish (0-1, 2.45 ERA) suffered the loss for the Anglers, giving up one run on two hits in one and two thirds innings of relief. Parrish entered the game in the seventh inning in place of Franklin Pierce right-hander Ryan Thompson (0-0, 0.82 ERA), who was given a no-decision. The Alberta native gave up one run in six innings of work, fanning five batters and walking two.
"Ryan had a big improvement from his last outing," said Schiffner. "He was not very sharp during the night we got rained out in Bourne and he gave up a bunch of hits early. Ryan did some work in the bullpen this week with our pitching coach Scott Winterburn and they figured some things out. You could see the effect of that hard work tonight. He gave us a chance to win the game."
Falmouth jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when first baseman John McGibbon (Clemson) ripped an RBI single into right field, scoring third baseman Drew Dosch (Youngstown State), who began the inning with a single. The Commodores tacked on the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out double by second baseman Coty Blanchard (Jacksonville State) that sent home McGibbon, who reached base on a hit-by-pitch.
While the Commodores produced two clutch hits to drive in runs, the Anglers had a challenging night at the plate, totaling only three hits. Chatham's lone run came on a home run to left field by catcher Andrew Knapp (California) in the top of the sixth inning. The hard-hit line drive not only tied the game at one, but gave the Golden State native a team-leading two long balls on the season.
"Knapp's hit was great," said Schiffner. "A clutch hit is exactly what you need in that situation. I wish we had a few more of those."
In addition to Knapp's recently improved offense, Schiffner has taken notice of the sophomore's defensive prowess and his leadership behind the plate.
"Andrew's been swinging the bat very well lately," he said. "He's been playing great. He's been calling good games, throwing well behind the dish and blocking the balls that he needs to stop."
After starting one rally in the sixth inning with a home run, Knapp came close to beginning another with no outs in the ninth inning, nearly reaching first base on an attempted bunt, a play that resulted in a questionable out call by first base umpire Rick Delvecchio.
"It was a bang-bang play," said Schiffner. "We thought Andrew was safe and the umpire didn't. There's nothing you can do unless they start using instant replay in the Cape Cod League. I thought Andrew was safe and I think a lot of other people did too. That's the nature of baseball, though. We'll come back and play tomorrow."
Chatham will return home to Veterans Field on Saturday night to take on the Brewster Whitecaps (5-8) at 7 p.m. For live coverage of Saturday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline.