The Chatham Anglers finished off the Fourth of July with a 5-1 victory over the Orleans Firebirds. Just one night after losing to the Firebirds in a 5-4 heart breaker at Veterans Field, the Anglers (9-8) were able to hold on at Eldredge Park on Wednesday night and give Orleans (13-4) its first home loss of the season.
"Tonight was a really good win in a number of ways," said manager John Schiffner
. "Last night was a heart-breaker and for us to come out and get an early lead was very impressive. It's always nice to beat Orleans and beating them at home on July Fourth is great."
Box Score Game 17: Chatham 5, Orleans 1
San Diego right-hander Michael Wagner
(2-1, 1.08 ERA) earned the win for Chatham. Wagner allowed an unearned run on a passed ball in five and two thirds innings and struck out seven batters. The sophomore gave up only two hits and moved the ball around the plate with relative ease.
"Michael threw very very well," said Schiffner. "He's going to do very well next year regardless of how San Diego is going to use him. He's obviously done some closing for them, but next year they anticipate him being a starter. If he continues to throw like he did tonight, they will be very happy."
Chatham's bullpen gave Wagner plenty of support and held Orleans scoreless and hitless over three and a third innings. Louisville right-hander Nick Burdi
(0-0, 5.06 ERA) had his best outing of the season, fanning five batters in two and a third innings. The six-foot four right-hander lit up the radar gun, reaching 99 miles per hour on a couple of occasions.
"Gas," said Schiffner. "Burdi was throwing gas. It was outstanding. That's the type of outing we expect from Nick. He gutted it out for over two innings."
The Anglers also received help from Stetson's Kurt Schluter
(1-1, 2.65 ERA), who pitched a scoreless ninth inning and struck out one batter despite loading the bases with two hit batsmen and a walk. The appearance marked Schluter's first time out of the bullpen this season.
Dartmouth southpaw Kyle Hunter
(0-1, 4.38 ERA) suffered the loss for Orleans, surrendering two earned runs on three hits in four and a third innings. The Firebird bullpen was able to keep Orleans in the game, allowing two runs in four and two thirds innings on five hits. Despite giving up four earned runs, Orleans still leads the Cape League with a 2.89 ERA.
At the plate, the Anglers wasted no time on Wednesday night and scored two runs in the first inning. After center fielder Adam Engel
(Louisville) walked to begin the game, designated hitter Chad Pinder
(VA Tech) tattooed an opposite field triple to right center, scoring Engel from first. Chatham was able to tack on its second run when catcher John Martinez
(Michigan State) hit a sacrifice fly to left, plating Pinder from third base.
"You have to move guys over in this league," said Schiffner. "The wooden bats and the great pitching dictates this style. We got some great situational hitting from our guys."
The Anglers scored again in the top of the third inning when Pinder hit an RBI ground out to the right side of the infield, scoring second baseman Dante Flores
(Southern California), who reached base on an error. In the top of the ninth, Chatham tallied some much-needed insurance runs when Pinder pulled a two-run double into left field with runners on second and third, giving him four RBI for the game and 20 for the season, which leads the Cape League.
"Chad is an RBI machine," said Schiffner, "He just loves it when guys are on base. He just seems to get better in those situations."
For a team whose ability has out-shown its record for the majority of the season, Wednesday night's win was a major confidence booster.
"Schiff told us that Orleans has the best record in the league and that we've played even with them for two nights in a row," said Michael Wagner
. "We were three outs away from sweeping these guys. It's really helped everyone feel good about themselves. Today was a great day for Chatham. We couldn't have celebrated the Fourth of July any better."
The Anglers will be back on the road on Thursday evening against the Brewster Whitecaps (7-10) at 5 p.m. For live coverage of Thursday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 4:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline