Chatham won its second game in a row on Monday night, shutting out the Orleans Firebirds 4-0 at Eldredge Park. Holding their rivals to just one hit, the Anglers (20-21-2) turned in their best collective pitching performance of the summer. With one game remaining in the regular season, Chatham has the opportunity to eclipse the Firebirds (21-22) for the East Division's third playoff spot.
"The pitching staff did an unbelievable job," said manager John Schiffner
. "We faced 30 batters, three over the minimum. That's fantastic. Everybody from the start was just outstanding. It was an impressive win."
Box Score Chatham 4, Orleans 0
On a designated "staff day," where the team decided to forgo a conventional starting pitcher and empty the bullpen, the Anglers used four pitchers. Boston College's Eric Stevens
(1-4, 5.16 ERA) dominated in relief, throwing four scoreless innings and tallying two strikeouts. Stevens came into the game in the fourth inning after UC Irvine's Jimmy Litchfield
(1-2, 4.63 ERA) tossed three shutout innings and struck out three batters to earn the win. Florida Gulf Coast's Ryan Atwood
(0-1, 1.80 ERA) and Virginia Tech's Jake Joyce
(2-0, 3.38 ERA) also made appearances, with Atwood pitching a scoreless eighth inning and Joyce striking out the side in the ninth to end the game.
"Jimmy started it off and did an outstanding job," said Schiffner. "Then Stevens followed it up. Stevens is not starting anymore at this point, but we know we have a solid guy with him to come out of the pen and stop or hold another team. It was great just to set guys up to help us out. Jake's back as well, he looked fantastic in the ninth inning. That's the Jake we'd like to see."
Maryland's Jimmy Reed
(2-1, 3.32 ERA) suffered the loss for the Firebirds, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Despite a valiant effort by an Orleans bullpen that allowed only two hits in four innings, the Firebirds failed to get any run support and totaled only one hit, which came courtesy of a bloop single by Vanderbilt's Conrad Gregor
At the plate, the Anglers jumped on a banged up Firebird team in the early innings. Chatham took a 2-0 lead in the first inning after UCLA's Pat Valaika
singled to begin the game and California's Andrew Knapp
belted a two-run home run to left field just two batters later. The Anglers tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth inning, both coming on RBI singles by Valaika and Maine's Mike Fransoso
"Those are the guys that have been doing it for us," said Schiffner. "Knapp and Valaika are our guys. We're also glad Sos is back in the lineup, he's been nursing some injuries lately. It was just a good solid baseball game for the Anglers."
As the final game of the season against Orleans approaches on Tuesday night at Veterans Field, Schiffner would like to see more of the same from his players.
"I'd like to see the same things we did tonight," he said. "We're going to rest some guys tomorrow and we have a natural day off on Wednesday. We're setting ourselves up to see what we can do."
For live coverage of Tuesday's game, tune into the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. with broadcasters Chris Fitzgerald and Brandon Liebhaber at TRZ Teamline
or call 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.