By Jimmy Zanor
@ShoreLineSports on Twitter
HAMDEN >> Former Hand coach Chris Borelli is in his third season rebuilding the Hamden baseball program. And there could be something brewing on Dixwell Avenue this spring.
The Green Dragons blanked visiting Xavier, 4-0, on Monday afternoon behind a terrific pitching performance from junior Pat Alexander.
Hamden also got RBI hits from junior Matt Barnett, senior Matt Moskal and junior Luke D’Ostilio while evening its’ record to 2-2.
“We’ve been grooming these guys,” said Borelli. “A lot of these guys who are now seniors and juniors, we put them on the field as sophomores and freshman and we took our lumps for a couple of years. But they gained a lot of valuable experience and they’re talented. So they’re starting to live up to their potential.”
Alexander, a hard-throwing righthander, allowed just three singles in a complete game effort. He also struck out eight, including one to end the game while setting the Falcons down in order in the seventh inning.
“We felt we’d have good arms and our pitchers have done an excellent job of keeping us in games,” said Borelli.
Alexander walked three batters in the top of the first but was helped by a pair of great plays at third by Moskal, who turned a double play on a chopper by the Falcons Chris Cardi and robbed Alex Parkos of a hit.
After that, Alexander settled down. He took a 2-0 lead and a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Andre Marjisol laced a two-out single to left. Laurence Hill followed with a single to right but Alexander got Will Garrity on a line-out to center.
“(Alexander) threw a lot for us last year as a sophomore,” added Borelli. “He really worked hard over the winter and developed the secondary pitches and put a couple of MPH’s on his fastball. He’s done a great job for us.”
Barnett’s RBI double and an RBI single by Moskal gave the Green Dragons a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Falcons starter Sean Carroll.
Carroll, a senior lefthander, allowed six hits in five innings. He also struck out six and did a nice job working out of a couple of jams in the third and fourth innings.
“Obviously, we would have liked to hit a little better with runners in scoring position today,” said Borelli. “We left a ton of guys on base and letting (Xavier) hang around is a bad idea.”
Sure enough, Cardi legged out an infield hit to lead-off the sixth and with one-out Parkos hit a deep drive to right that was caught in front of the fence by Paul Wetmore, who alertly zipped a throw to the infield to complete a double-play.
Hamden then took advantage of some sloppy play by Xavier in the sixth and tacked on a pair of insurance runs. D’Ostilio lined an RBI single to left to make it 3-0 and a wild pitch allowed Barnett to score when the Falcons couldn’t secure the third out on a strikeout.
“To be honest, we kicked a couple of balls and we had some balls get by us for runs,” said Xavier coach Rich Magner. “Those tack on runs are killers. We run into a double play on a fly ball to right. We didn’t get much done. (Hamden) deserved it. They played better.”
The Green Dragons returned eight starters and all of their pitchers from last year’s 6-14 club.
“It’s a great win for us,” said Borelli. “We’ve got things to work on still. I think we’re headed in the right direction. We needed a game like this to get us over the hump.”