WAREHAM, MA: – Backed by a strong outing from the staff ace, Wareham kept within striking distance of the Western Division’s top two teams with a victory over Chatham on Sunday evening.
Jack Armstrong (Vanderbilt) started strong and did not look back, while Zach Wilson (Arizona State) provided all the offense his squad would need, as the Gatemen (19-21-1) cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Anglers (18-21-1) at Spillane Field.
The win pulls Wareham to within one point of second-place Cotuit and three of division-leading Bourne. After Sunday’s results, all four Western Division playoff spots have been clinched after Falmouth eliminated Hyannis earlier in the day. With three games remaining, Wareham will jockey for playoff seeding as the regular season draws to a close on Wednesday.
Jack Armstrong (Vanderbilt) improved to 4-3 on the season, picking up the win after throwing six solid innings. The Jupiter, Fla., native scattered five hits and allowed one run while striking out seven and walking only two. Chris Munnelly (UNC) fell to 0-1, having gone six innings and yielding three runs on eight hits striking out five and walking one.
Wareham took the early lead with a two-run home run off the bat of Zach Wilson (Arizona State) in the bottom of the first. The CCBL All-Star Game MVP drilled an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence for his fifth homer of the year—and third this week, scoring Jonathan Smith (Tenn.-Wesleyan), who singled in the previous at-bat.
Adam McClain (Memphis), back in the lineup after missing a string of games, added to Wareham’s lead in the second with a base hit up the middle to score Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) from second. McClain nearly scored from second in the next at-bat, as Tony Caldwell (Auburn) drove a base hit to right field, but McClain was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
Chatham got one back in the fifth, as Riley Reynolds (Vanderbilt) reached on a leadoff single against his collegiate teammate Armstrong. Reynolds then moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly, and came home on another wild pitch to put the Anglers on the board. Armstrong did not allow a run the rest of the way.
Andrew McKirahan (Texas) came on in the top of the seventh and allowed a leadoff single, but benefited from a 2-6-3 double play to get out of the jam. McKirahan went on to pitch two scoreless innings, despite allowing four hits. The lefty struck out one and walked none.
Wareham tacked on three more in the bottom half of the eighth against reliever Paul Schreiber (Iowa). Nico Rosthenhausler (Oklahoma State) drew a two-out walk to score the first run, and Jake Davies (Georgia Tech) singled up the middle in the next at-bat, scoring Smith and Max Muncy (Baylor) and increasing the lead to 6-1.
Ken Ferrer blanked the Anglers in the ninth, striking out two and walking one in a non-save situation to secure the win—Wareham’s third in four contests.
The Gatemen return to action when they take on Harwich at Whitehouse Field in the last road game of the regular season. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.