The Anglers ended their five-game losing streak on Monday night, holding off Orleans 4-2. Down 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Chatham scored four unanswered runs to best their cross-town rivals.
"Our pitching staff came through again," said manager John Schiffner
. "We had a textbook pitching performance tonight from our guys and that really helped us. I'm also really proud of our hitters. They came through with some clutch base hits and gave us some much needed runs. We had some great situational hitting tonight."
Box Score Game 32: Chatham 4, Orleans 2
Stetson's Kurt Schluter
(2-1, 3.95 ERA) earned the win for the Anglers (16-16), giving up two runs on five hits in six innings and racking up eight strikeouts. A lanky right-hander who relies on command, Schluter spotted his fastball throughout the strike zone and kept Orleans off-balance with a bevvy of curveballs.
"Schluter was just oustanding tonight," said Schiffner. "He had total control of the strike zone out there and he put the ball wherever he wanted."
A major staple of the 2012 season, Chatham's bullpen clocked in another shutdown performance, allowing one hit in three scoreless innings of relief. Pepperdine's Aaron Brown (1-0, 1.80 ERA) had one strikeout in one and two thirds innings and Virginia Tech's Jake Joyce (1-0, 3.14 ERA) fanned three in one and a third innings to get his sixth save of the season.
"Brownie and Jake did what they were supposed to do," said Schiffner. "It's great when your setup guy and your closer can finish the job for your starter. Scott Winterburn has done a great job coaching these guys as usual."
Vanderbilt's Philip Pfeifer
(1-1, 5.79 ERA) suffered the loss for the Firebirds (18-14), surrendering two runs on three hits in one third of an inning. The Firebird bullpen gave up all four runs for Orleans and gave Maryland's Jimmy Reed
(2-0, 3.34 ERA) a no-decision after the junior left-hander threw five scoreless innings, gave up two hits and struck out seven batters.
Breaking out of a major slump at the plate, the Anglers tallied nine hits. Chatham received major contributions from right fielder Dale Carey
(Miami), catcher John Martinez
(Michigan State) and designated hitter Andrew Knapp
(California). Carey went 1 for 4 and put the Anglers on the board with an RBI single in the sixth inning, Martinez went 1 for 4 with a two-run home run to give Chatham a 3-2 lead in the sixth and designated hitter Andrew Knapp went 2 for 4 and made it a 4-2 game with a clutch RBI double in the seventh.
"The three run rally in the sixth was outstanding," said Schiffner. "We hadn't done that in a while, so it was nice to see. The big home run by Marty was also fantastic. And that double by Knapp was huge as well. It's been great to have him back in the lineup."
For Knapp, who is playing through two broken toes on his left foot, being able to help his team win was the greatest part of being back on the field.
"It felt good playing," he said. "I really don't like sitting a lot, so being out there was great. I felt a little tenderness when I was running, but I felt good overall. I was just trying to execute out there tonight. I got some pitches over the plate tonight and I did my best to drive them into the gap and help us get some runs."
Orleans was paced by catcher Jake Hernandez
(Southern California), who went 1 for 4 with a two-run home run that was aided by a strong wind in right field.
"That wind was really blowing at the top of the flag," said Schiffner. "It definitely influenced the home run by Orleans tonight. But that's baseball. You have to play with weird weather sometimes."
Ultimately, Chatham won Monday's game with a refusal to quit. Even with the losing streak, Schiffner has admired his team's perseverance, especially when it came to fruition in front of a home crowd at Veterans Field.
"Our guys have played hard," he said. "We have been in every game that we've lost except for the Wareham game. I am really proud of the way our kids have held themselves together."
Chatham will be back at Veterans Field for the second straight night on Tuesday as the Anglers take on the Bourne Braves (12-19). Tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. for live coverage with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.