With runners on first and second and one out in the eighth inning, Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan
seized the moment and pounded a two-run double into left field, breaking a 2-2 tie and bringing his team one step closer to the postseason. Usually known for his rock-solid defense behind the plate and his game management, the Anglers' catcher came up with his biggest hit of the season, a moment that brought a crowd of 2,471 to its feet at Veterans Field.
Chatham's three-game losing streak came to an end on Thursday night as the Anglers defeated the Brewster Whitecaps 4-2. In a game where both teams combined for 11 hits, Chatham finally caught a break and emerged as the victor.
"Good win," said manager John Schiffner
. "Really really good win. It was a good college baseball game. I'm very proud of the guys. They played really well. They knew this game was really important and that things could've slipped away if we lost tonight."
Box Score Chatham 4, Brewster 2
High Point's Jamie Schultz
(2-0, 3.26 ERA) earned the win for Chatham (18-20-1), striking out two batters in one and two thirds scoreless innings of relief. While Schultz was credited with the win, San Diego's Michael Wagner
(2-2, 1.84 ERA) was also highly effective for the Anglers, allowing only one earned run and striking out eight batters in seven innings for a no-decision. North Carolina's Tate Parrish
(1-3, 3.38 ERA) was the only other Chatham pitcher to make an appearance, walking one batter in a third of an inning.
"Wags pitched hit butt off," said Schiffner. "Then Jamie and Tate came in and picked up the pieces for us."
Memphis' Sam Moll
(1-2, 2.76 ERA) suffered the loss for the Whitecaps (14-23-1), allowing one earned run on three hits in one inning of work. Following one and a third innings from Rice's Evan Rutter
(1-0, 3.65 ERA), who fanned four batters, Moll entered the game to try and get some redemption for Minnesota's Tom Windle
(3-2, 2.35 ERA), who gave up two earned runs on four hits in five and two thirds innings while striking out seven batters only to get a no-decision.
"Windle was outstanding," said Schiffner. "Before Calbick and Louie got those RBIs, he was throwing the daylights out of the ball. That was as good of a performance that we've seen against us all year long."
Although the final five innings of play on Thursday were stockpiled with drama, the first four frames of the game were a first-class pitchers' duel, with Wagner and Windle effectively changing speeds and mowing through the lineups. Brewster struck first in the top of the fifth when Washington's Trevor Mitsui
doubled to begin the inning and scored when Boston College's Tom Bourdon
misplayed a fly ball to left field hit by Fresno State's Aaron Judge
. The Whitecaps would tack on another run on an RBI single by Cal State Fullerton's Mike Lorenzen
, who led a team that collected just four hits on the night.
With Veterans Field relatively quiet and two outs in the sixth, Maine's Alex Calbick
woke up the ballpark by crushing a solo home run to right field. Taking the cue, Virginia Tech's Chad Morgan
doubled to right field in the next at-bat to set up an RBI single by San Diego's Louie Lechich
, which knotted the game at two. In just three quick swings of the bat, the Anglers were able to shift the momentum back in their favor.
While the sixth inning brought plenty of excitement, no point in the game came close to the bottom of the eighth inning. After California's Andrew Knapp
reached on an error and Louisville's Adam Engel
reached first on a bunt single, the stage was set for a rally. Coming up to the dish with one out, Morgan ripped his second double of the night, easily plating Knapp and Engel and sending the Chatham dugout into chaos.
"Everybody went nuts," said Schiffner. "They were going crazy. That guy (Moll) came into the game with 31 innings pitched, 40 strikeouts and two walks. So to get that base was huge. It was awesome."
Yet, even with a crucial win that gives his team a four-win lead over Brewster for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division, Schiffner knows that there is still work to be done.
"We've got to keep doing exactly what we did tonight and get good pitching, good hitting, good defense," he said. "Who knows what we can do' We can pitch it with anybody. We're not going to kill people offensively, but our pitching can hold down the other teams' offenses and we can play catch a little bit. We have to get into the playoffs first though and then we can worry about that stuff."
Chatham will have a chance to get one step closer to the postseason on Friday when the Anglers take on the Harwich Mariners (24-14) at Whitehouse Field at 7 p.m. 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.