Darien edges New Canaan in pitcher's duel
The Darien Blue Wave edged the New Canaan Rams 2-1 on Monday afternoon at Mead Field in New Canaan on the strength of a complete game by starting pitcher Andrew Hurn.
Hurn was in control all afternoon, mixing his pitches and allowing only one earned run on six hits while striking out seven and walking none. Hurn's performance enabled his team to claim victory on its crosstown rival.
"It's long. You've got to have the mental stamina to go the full seven and pitch like that," Hurn said. "It's certainly no easy feat."
New Canaan starting pitcher Alex Farina was equally impressive. Farina also threw a complete game, surrendering just two earned runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking none.
"It's really tough, especially when the whole team is trying hard," Farina said. "I felt pretty good about [the pitching performance]. Still missing a couple key spots though."
Both starting pitchers traded zeroes through five innings. Finally, in the top of the sixth, the Darien bats finally woke up.
Batting out of the nine-hole, Ian Sullivan singled to right field for his second hit in as many at bats to lead off the inning. After a strikeout of leadoff hitter and second baseman Tommy Farren, Sullivan successfully swiped second base, despite a New Canaan pitchout. Sullivan was playing through a migraine and exited the game after scoring the tying run.
"Ian provided a spark from the bottom of the lineup," Darien coach Mike Scott said. "He had been hitting in the two-hole for the first three games, but we wanted to move him down and see if we can get some production from him, and he responded today."
Third baseman Tom Carruthers reached on an infield single, and Sullivan advanced to third on the play. Shortstop Dan Pidgeon brought Sullivan home with an RBI groundout to third base, and Sam Gillispie made the score 2-0 with a base hit to score Carruthers.
After failing to score a run in the first six innings, the Rams refused to go quietly in the seventh.
New Canaan rightfielder Cameron Armstrong led off the inning with a triple, and the ensuing poor throw by Darien went over the head of Carruthers at third base, allowing Armstrong to trot home to cut Darien's lead to 2-1. Armstrong's triple was the only extra base hit for either team on the day.
Hurn bounced back by retiring the next two New Canaan batters on a strikeout and a groundout, but consecutive singles by first baseman Will Karl and third baseman Willie Burger put the potential game-tying run on second and the potential game-winning run on first. Hurn refused to let New Canaan pull even, however, as he shut the door with his seventh strikeout of the day to end the game.
"[Hurn] came out and did what we needed him to do. It was a tough game and there wasn't a lot of offense from either side, but he kept us right there," Scott said.
"We allowed ourselves to not be as aggressive, and we fell victim to a very good pitcher. He did what he had to do," New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman said. "What they did different than us is they put the pressure on a little bit. And if you make a team bend enough, they're going to break."
New Canaan (2-1) will be back in action tomorrow at New Milford at 4 p.m.
"We're going to come out hard tomorrow. No doubt," Farina said. "We've got a good chance to beat them."
Darien (3-1), which had lost its previous game by a 3-0 margin against Trumbull tonight, won't take the field again until they play host to Harding at 4:00 tonight.
"Winning streaks start with one, losing streaks start with one," Hurn said. "Starting with this positive outlook, we've got Harding on Friday and we're starting to get hungry to get those wins."