« Back to 2015 News Archives
CHATHAM, Mass.— Zac Gallen (North Carolina) has made himself known as a strikeout machine in the early going this summer. The right-hander from New Jersey brought 15 strikeouts from his first nine innings of work into Friday night’s contest against Orleans.
But Gallen took his reputation to a new level against the Firebirds, striking out five consecutive batters in the fourth and fifth innings.
“The cutter was his best pitch tonight,” said Nick Sciortino (Boston College), who caught the game. “I love his change-up too, but they really were not seeing the cutter well, and he was throwing them where I was calling them.”
Gallen’s strikeout streak provided the Anglers (11-10) with the momentum they needed in a 4-2 victory over their classic rivals. The game was played in front of a season-high 2,678 spectators at Veterans Field.
“Everything was working for Zac tonight,” said Manager John Schiffner. “He was changing speeds well, he was throwing breaking pitches well, and he just pitched really well.”
Gallen finished the night with eight strikeouts in six scoreless frames. Orleans (14-6) managed four baserunners against the Tar Heel, who dazzled them with his fastball, cutter, change-up, and curve alike.
“It was good to get the cutter back to where it was,” said Gallen. “Having all four pitches was big for me tonight.”
The biggest moments of Gallen’s outing—his five connsecutive strikeouts—looked improbable for a brief period when the first two batters of the fourth inning drew walks. Then Nick Sciortino, who has played with Gallen since he was 11 years old, came out from behind the plate to talk with the pitcher.
“It's great having Sciortino behind the plate," said Gallen. "Scores has seen me throw since the building stages of when I was young, so he knows what I need to do and what pitches to call when I get in trouble."
The two got back on the same page, and Gallen struck out the next five in a row.
The game brings Gallen to 15 innings without giving up an earned run on the summer. He has recorded 23 strikeouts to five walks over that time period. Despite these numbers, Friday's win is the first officially listed in his ledger.
“It was great for Gallen to finally get the monkey off his back and get credited with a win,” said Schiffner. “But obviously, he’s pitched well all year.”
Offensively, the Anglers spread their damage equally between the first and sixth innings.
Trenton Brooks (Nevada) led off the first with a double, and Jake Fraley (Louisiana State) followed with a single. After both runners advancing on a wild pitch, Cory Raley (Texas Tech) grounded one to the second baseman to bring in the game’s first run. Two batters later, Aaron Barnett (Pepperdine) shot an RBI single to right field to bring Fraley home.
In the sixth, a Luke Persico (UCLA) single and Aaron Knapp (California) hit by pitch set up two more runs. Zack Short (Sacred Heart) drove in the first with a double, and Trenton Brooks (Nevada) brought the other home with a single.
Brandon Miller (Millersville) and Aaron McGarity (Virginia Tech) combined for the final three innings of relief. Miller struck out two and allowed two runs in 1.2 innings, and McGarity got recorded the save without giving up a run the final 1.1.
The Anglers rematch the Firebirds at Eldredge Park 7 p.m. on Saturday. Daniel Castano (Baylor) is expected to start for the Anglers. The left-handed Texan has a 3.00 ERA and has struck out 13 batters in 15 innings. Corbin Burnes (Saint Mary’s) is projected to throw for the Firebirds. Burnes has a 3.17 ERA and has struck out 11 batters in 17 frames.