McMahon rides 7-run third inning to win over New Canaan
NORWALK -- There haven't been too many instances this season when Brien McMahon has needed a jolt from its offense.
Top heavy in the pitching rotation with the reigning FCIAC Player of the Year, Bryan Daniello, and right-hander Ricardo Torres, the Senators have silenced opposing lineups to the tune of 14 runs allowed (two shutouts) through six games.
But on Monday, against one of the conference's preseason favorites, New Canaan, the Senators needed a little punch from both their bats and their pitching staff to overcome a tall order.
Trailing by four runs early against right-handed New Canaan ace Andrew Casali, the Senators erupted for seven runs on six hits in the third inning to earn a 9-6 win over the Rams.
Torres' two-run double to right-center with one out in the third broke a 4-4 tie and lifted McMahon to its sixth win in seven games to start the season.
"I was thinking first-pitch fastball, `Just rip it.' I got it and drove it out to the outfield," said Torres, who started at third base and went 1-for-4.
The Senators got an effective outing in relief out of right-hander Mark Ballard, who allowed just two runs in 4ï»¿1/3 innings to get the win. Ballard came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the first following back-to-back run-scoring walks by starter Joe Cox (2/3 inning, two runs), and retired left fielder Brian Moran on a first-pitch comebacker to the mound.
"This team needs to believe that they can win when Ricky and Bryan aren't on the hill. That's they key thing we got out of this," McMahon head coach John Cross said. "Mark has some confidence now getting in the win."
"I needed to throw strikes so I threw strikes," Ballard said. "They hit me a little bit but my team backed me up with hits. I felt pretty good on the mound."
Casali surrendered just one single and hit a pair of batters through two innings, but McMahon jumped all over Casali's offerings in the third. After an error and a walk to second baseman Jamie Restivo to begin the inning, Daniello lined an RBI single into right field to trim the deficit to 4-1. Left fielder Mike Giordano and Dennis Warfield followed with run-scoring singles and first baseman Joe Cox added an RBI double to make it 4-4.
"They swung the bats aggressive," New Canaan head coach Mitch Hoffman said. "They're an older team and we're a young team. Hopefully we can come back and learn from that."
Giordano had three hits and two RBI out of the clean-up spot and Daniello added a pair of singles and an RBI to pace a 12-hit attack for McMahon in a rare off-day for Casali (nine runs allowed over three-plus innings).
"Andrew's our best and Andrew's going to continue to be our best. He threw some pitches and they hit them," Hoffman said. "Maybe next time he throws some pitches and they don't hit them."
With McMahon leading 9-4 in the sixth inning, Cross called on Torres in relief following a leadoff double by the Rams' Michael Kershin. The McMahon right-hander walked his first two batters to load the bases with no outs, but he escaped serious damage. Second baseman Doug Reilly recorded an RBI on a groundout and Casali added a sacrifice fly to make it 9-6.
"I was supposed to start against Greenwich (on Wednesday) so coming in here knowing that my team needs me, I do what I've got to do," Torres said.
Third baseman William Burger had an RBI single and Casali added a run-scoring double for the Rams, who recorded eight hits and fell to 5-2 on the season.
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BRIEN MCMAHON 9, NEW CANAAN 6
NEW CANAAN 220 002 0--6 8 2
MCMAHON 007 200 x--9 12 2
Records: New Canaan 5-2; McMahon 6-1.
Batteries: NC--Andrew Casali (L, 2-1), Michael Kershin (4) and Casey Ouellette. M--Joe Cox, Mark Ballard (W, 1-0, 1), Ricardo Torres (6) and Chris Holomakoff.
Doubles: NC--Casali, Keshin; M--Cox, Torres. Triples: M--Mike Giordano.