Schiraldi Stellar, Offense Explodes as Anglers Batter Falmouth
by Chris Jones Monday, July 29, 2013
From the first pitch on, It was all Chatham Anglers at Guv Fuller Field on Monday night.
After being dealt a tough 11-6 loss to the last-place Wareham Gatemen on Sunday, the Anglers (25-11-1) bounced back in a big way, defeating the Falmouth Commodores 8-0.
"That is what they have done all season," Manager John Schiffner said. "It is really amazing. No matter what happens the night before, these guys put it behind them and come out ready to play the next day."
The Anglers scored six of their eight runs in the top of the first inning, battering Falmouth starter Brandon Magallones (Northwestern) for the second time in as many starts for him. This time the Chatham offense touched him up for six runs on only two hits, with three walks before Magallones could get out of the first inning.
Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) got the big inning started with one out with a three-run home run, his fifth of the season, to dead center to get the Anglers on the board with a 3-0 lead. Ryan Phelan (Fordham) and Brett Bell (Texas Tech) added RBI singles, and by the end of the frame, Chatham had a 6-0 lead.
"It was big. Coming out and getting six runs against a good team on the road really erased a lot of memories of last night's loss," Phelan said.
Chatham sent 12 men to the plate in the top of the first inning. Both Landon Lassiter (North Carolina) and Mitch Gunsolus (Gonzaga) worked two walks each in the frame.
Given a six run cushion, Lukas Schiraldi (Texas) and the pitching staff did the rest. Schiraldi shut down the potent Commodores offense for the second time in as many starts.
The Commodores have had the best offense in the league for the majority of the season, with six guys in their lineup having participated in the All-Star game, but they could not manage a run against Schiraldi, who pitched six innings, struck out three, and only allowed three hits.
photo by Graham Harboe/Chatham Anglers Jimmy Pickens (Michigan State) connected for a three-run home run in the first inning, part of a six run frame for Chatham
"He just keeps getting better and better. He wasn't bad when he got here, but he has really moved to another level," Schiffner said. "It is really outstanding to watch. Credit goes to him and (pitching coach) Matt Gardner."
For Schiraldi, pitching with such a big cushion makes things a lot easier on him.
"It makes life easy. All I have to do is throw the ball over the plate," Schiraldi said.
Schiraldi has now recorded the win in each of his last four starts, in which he has only given up one earned run over 23 innings. His last 12 innings have come against the Commodores, in which he has allowed only seven total hits and no runs.
Confidence is at an all-time high for Schiraldi.
"I would say I am pretty confident right now. Baseball is a fun game, and all I try to do is go out there, relax, and have fun," Schiraldi said.
Pickens gave Chatham their seventh run of the night with an RBI double in the sixth inning. Phelan scored on a Connor Joe (San Diego) sacrifice fly to make it 8-0 in the seventh inning.
The Anglers bullpen was just as dominant as Schiraldi was, as the Commodores offense could not muster anything against them.
Chad Sobotka (South Carolina- Upstate) struck out two in his one inning of work. Dominic Moreno (Texas Tech) threw only 12 pitches, 11 of them were strikes, in a perfect eighth inning of relief, and J.D Davis (Cal State Fullerton) closed out the game in the ninth, striking out two.
Pickens continued his hot hitting on Monday night, collecting two hits and four RBI including the three-run home run in the first inning. Pickens now has three home runs in the past three games, and is hitting for an even .500 average with six RBI during that span.
Lassiter had one hit on the night, but also drew three of Chatham's 11 walks on the night. On the season now, the Anglers have drawn a league-leading 200 walks.
The Anglers will now begin a stretch of four games in three days, all coming against division opponents. Chatham sits with a 13 point lead ahead of the now second-place Orleans Firebirds, and now are only three points away from clinching their first division title since 2001.
For Schiffner, the plan, although not yet complete, is coming together perfectly.
"The plan is working," Schiffner said. "We have got versatile guys, versatile pitchers, a shutdown bullpen, and an overall great group of guys who form a really fun team to watch."