Birds offense goes quiet after first in 4-1 loss to Chatham


Following a 12-1 loss at home just the night prior, the Firebirds were looking to have a big bounce-back performance on the Fourth of July in Chatham.

The offense came out swinging early, as two consecutive hits through the 4-3 gap from Khadim Diaw (Loyola Marymount) and Landon Moran (Stetson) put runners on the corners for the Birds.

With just one out and Moran 90 feet from home, Roch Cholowsky came up to the plate and did his job, laying down a perfect sacrifice dribbler that brought in Moran to give the Birds an early 1-0 lead.

To spark the Chatham offense, former Firebird Austin Overn (USC), led off with a five-pitch walk. After the next A's hitter, Ashton Larson (LSU), struck out, Overn made a run for second. However, a dart from Diaw at the catcher's spot sent him back to the dugout.

After the Birds' offense was unable to extend its 1-0 lead, the defense was again tasked with keeping that game manageable — a challenge it has consistently met all summer. Thursday night was no different.

Looking to ignite the Chatham offense, John Bay (Austin Peay), smoked a ground ball 104 mph off his bat. Hudson Shupe (Gonzaga) somehow fielded it perfectly, spun around and made a laser of a throw to first for the out.

After the infield's great play, Moran ensured the outfield got their moment. Aiva Arquette knocked a fly ball into center which seemed it was heading straight for the gap, but a sprawled-out Moran made the catch, stealing another base hit from Chatham.

Manager Kelly Nicholson, who has impressed with his team's fielding all season, is now hoping his offense can begin to give them some run assistance.

"They've done a great job positioning themselves out there," Nicholson said. "Great job protecting runs, but it's hard to win when you only put up one."

Orleans errors and Luke Cantwell's (Pitt) second two-run homer in the same number of games against the Birds broke the game open and helped secure a 4-1 Fourth of July win for the A's.

The Birds will look to get back in the win column as they visit Y-D for the first time this season on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.