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Chatham, Mass. — The Anglers (22-24, 1-1) face the Orleans Firebirds (30-16, 1-1) in the third and final game of the East Division Playoff Series at Eldredge Park, Orleans tonight.
Following Sunday’s series-tying 3-1 victory over the Firebirds at Veterans Field, the winner of tonight’s contest will proceed to the next round of the playoffs.
Last night, clean execution and effective pitching kept the Anglers alive in a choppy battle for survival.
First baseman Nick Patten (Delaware) plated third baseman John Aiello (Wake Forest) on a groundout in the second to erase an early Orleans lead.
The teams remained deadlocked in a tie of one, until Chatham showed some life in the fifth. Right fielder Kyle Baker (Delaware) advanced two into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, before catcher Cody Roberts (North Carolina) ran home on a wild pitch. Center fielder Josh Stowers (Louisville) drove in shortstop Jeremy Peña (Maine) on a groundout to secure the victory.
“We got the important things done — we executed when we had to, we didn’t make any bad plays and we got great pitching,” manager John Schiffner said. “That’s what you have to do in playoffs, and that’s what we did.”
On the mound, a trio of Anglers kept it airtight. Adam Wolf (Louisville) and Jack DeGroat (Liberty) combined to shut Orleans down over four scoreless innings in relief of starter Austin Bergner (North Carolina).
Bergner struck out six over five frames, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third with a clutch strikeout.
“Everyone was pretty loose, everyone was at the realisation if we don’t win, this is going to be our last game,” Wolf said. “So we just kind of came at it, had fun — the mentality was great.”
Left-handed pitcher Jeff Belge (St. John’s) will take the mound for Chatham tonight. Belge finished the regular season with an ERA of 4.05, earning one win in seven appearances. He most recently dealt six scoreless frames in the team’s 4-2 victory over Yarmouth-Dennis August 1.
Ryan Rolison (Mississippi) will start on the rubber for the Firebirds. Rolison is no stranger to the Anglers, facing the team on two occasions this season. He most recently appeared in Orleans’ 3-2 victory over Chatham August 2, striking out three over a trio of innings.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The extended Anglers Extra Pregame Show begins at 5:30 p.m. — listen here: http://bit.ly/ChathamBroadcasts