Greenwich and Fairfield Ludlowe combined for only seven hits, while the pitchers for both teams combined for 16 strikeouts during today’s FCIAC baseball matchup. Indeed, this conference game featured a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel, including crisp defensive play.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Falcons had just a bit more offense on this day.
A two-run first inning was all Ludlowe needed with senior right-hander Kyle Carozza cruising on the mound. Carozza struck out 11 batters and allowed only three hits in six innings to lead Ludlowe to a 2-1 win over the Cardinals in a well-played game today at Greenwich High School.
“It was a great game, they’re a good team, with great ball players and it is a good win, so we feel good,” Ludlowe coach Ken Geriak said.
The loss was the third straight for Greenwich (3-3), which started its season with three consecutive victories. Two of the losses were by one run, as the Cardinals dropped a 6-5 decision to Brien McMahon, which hit a walk-off home run in the eighth inning to beat GHS.
“We didn’t really battle adversity last year, we never lost two games in a row and obviously, we had success,” said Greenwich coach Adrian Arango, whose squad reached the FCIAC Tournament finals last year and CIAC Class LL Tournament semifinals. “This year now losing three games in a row, let’s see how we react to adversity. My guess is they’ll handle it well.”
While Carozza was outstanding on the mound for the Falcons, the Cardinals’ sophomore right-handed duo of Troy Goodwin and Tommy Passamano also excelled. Goodwin yielded two runs on just one hit in four innings. He issued five walks, several of which led to Ludlowe’s two runs and had two strikeouts. Passamano, meanwhile, pitched three scoreless innings of relief, striking out three batters.
“We had an injury pregame, so we put the young guy on the spot and he did great,” Arango said of Goodwin. “Maybe some first game jitters with the walks, he walked a run in. After that, he settled in, that’s a good team and Tommy backs him up, another sophomore. To hold them to those two runs in the first inning, I couldn’t ask for more. They earned that opportunity to be out there. I couldn’t be more proud of them against a good FCIAC team that is undefeated.”
Ludlowe, which upped its record to 5-0 with the tight win, saw Carozza use his fastball and curve ball effectively for six innings.
“Kyle was amazing today,” Geriak said. “His stuff was on, he was throwing strikes, he was confident – he did a great job today. He was keeping guys off balance and he went with his game plan, keeping the ball away from certain guys.”
In the top of the first inning, sophomore first baseman Ben Crawford drew a bases loaded walk from Goodwin, giving Ludlowe a 1-0 lead. With the bases still loaded and two outs, junior left fielder Ethan Wallace hit an RBI single to center field, increasing the visitors’ advantage to 2-0. That’s all Greenwich’s pitchers allowed, as Goodwin and Passamano settled in nicely and worked their way out of a couple of jams along the way.
“After that first inning, we had some opportunities, we just couldn’t get the big hit,” Geriak said. “But we played good defense and pitched well.”
The Cardinals scored their lone run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior third baseman Justin Zych started the inning with single and scored when senior right fielder Ryan Perez doubled to right center field off Carozza, bringing the Cards to within 2-1.
Greenwich had a great chance to tie the score in the fifth inning after senior left fielder Javier Serra lined a triple down the right field line with no one out. Carozza bared down however, striking out the next three Greenwich batters to preserve his squad’s one-run lead.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Serra said of Carozza. “It’s a little frustrating and hopefully, we’ll see him again later in the season and we’ll be ready.”
“It was tough getting going, but we’ll get it together,” Perez said. “The young guys did great on the mound and we just have to do our job offensively to get more runs in.”
Passamano retired the side in order in the sixth inning, then worked out of a tough spot in the seventh inning, with the Falcons putting two runners on base.
“We had sophomores on the mound battling, pitching a big game,” Serra said. “We’ll get it together.”
In the seventh inning, senior Tommy Healey, who started at shortstop, was hit by a pitch by senior right-handed reliever Harry Tavella to begin the inning. But Tavella retired the next three batters to seal the Falcons’ win and pick up the save.
“Harry has great stuff, he has a great mentality,” Geriak said. “It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it doesn’t faze him.”
Greenwich finished the game with three hits and committed only one error, while Ludlowe had four hits and played errorless baseball.
“He (Carozza) had command of two pitches, kept us off balance and bared down when he needed to bare down,” Arango said. “We had some opportunities. We are 0-2 in league play, so we really got to get going on Wednesday. Hats off to them, their pitcher made big pitches in big spots.”
Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Greenwich hosts another formidable FCIAC foe in the form of Staples.
“We just have to forget about the last six games and get ready for Staples,” Perez said.