NEW CANAAN -- The New Canaan bats came out aggressively against Trinity Catholic pitcher Randy Polonia, jumping on his fastball and making solid contact early in the game.

Seeing his pitches hit hard is not something Polonia is accustom to, but rather than continue to challenge the Rams' early in counts, Polonia changed his strategy, starting hitters off with his biting slider and working from there.

The change in approach paid off for the senior right-hander, who limited the Rams to a run in the first before escaping trouble in the third and fourth innings, going the distance as the No. 6 Crusaders defeated the No. 3 Rams 3-1 in the FCIAC quarterfinals at Mead Park Tuesday.

Trinity advances to Wednesday's night's semifinals at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport where it will face No. 4 Staples in the nightcap.

"I felt the slider really well," Polonia said. "The curveball was not on point so coach told me to just work with the slider and the slider was going my way. They were jumping on first pitches a lot, so, I had to change it up a little bit."

Polonia struck out six, allowing eight hits but stranding eight runners on the bases, including men at third in both the third and fourth innings. The UConn-bound senior helped himself at the plate by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

New Canaan scored in the first on a single by Kyle Levassuer, scoring Robby Jones.

The Rams stranded runners at second and third with one out in the third, and Kane Curtin tripled leading off the fourth, advancing no further.

"Credit to them, they got the hits when they needed them and we didn't," New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman said. "When you have two good guys on the mound you have to take advantage of runners in scoring position, especially on third with less than two outs."

Trinity coach Tracy Nichols said when Curtin did not score he had a feeling his team would rally to win.

"This was not Randy's best performance and when you see him going to breaking pitches that early he knows he is not spotting the fastball, but he has the ability to say `You are not scoring,' " Nichols said. "That kid led off with a triple and didn't score and that is the essence of Randy. I said to a kid on the bench after he hit the triple `If they don't score, we win the game.' Because (David Giusti) is a good pitcher and keeps the ball down."

Giusti matched Polonia most of the afternoon, going the distance himself, but Trinity rallied with two outs in the fifth, getting four straight two-out hits.

Dan Bernard led off the top of the fifth with a walk but Giusti retired the next two batters and nearly escaped but an infield single by Polonia scored Bernard, tying the game.

Matt Fraioli then singled ahead of Thomas Costigan who blooped a single to right field, scoring Polonia. Fraioli came in to score on a hard-hit single to left by Dillon Daine, making it 3-1.

Scott.Ericson@scni.com; @EricsonSports

Trinity Catholic 3, New Canaan 1

TRINITY CATHOLIC 000 030 0 -- 3 6 0

NEW CANAAN 100 000 0 -- 1 8 0

Records: TC 14-5; NC 14-5

Batteries: TC--Randy Polonia (W) and Thomas Costigan. NC--David Giusti (L) and Zack Smith

Highlights: TC--Polonia 2-for-4, RBI, run; Thomas Costigan GW RBI; Dillon Daine RBI. NC--Robby Jones single, run; Kyle Levassuer 2-3 RBI; Alex LaPolice 2-for-4.