BRIDGEPORT >> On a night when starting pitcher Reece Maniscalco didn’t have his best stuff, the Fairfield Warde baseball team wasn’t in trouble.
Friday night at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the Mustangs turned in a solid defensive performance, collected the timely hits, and Maniscalco did enough to collect the 4-3 victory over rival Ludlowe.
“Teamwork,” junior Zavier Espinel said. “That’s all its’ been so far; trying our hearts out every single game.”
It’s been that group effort that has propelled the defending FCIAC champs to a 6-0 start to the season and in a good rhythm.
“They are a confident bunch,” Warde head coach Mark Caron said. “They expect to win.”
Confidence certainly has helped in just about every area this spring. Down 1-0 early in the game Friday, after Ludlowe’s Patrick O’Leary drilled one to the outfield to score Connor Daley, there was no panic from the Mustangs, only experience that showed up.
With two outs in the top of the second, senior co-captain Zach Weinstein singled to score two runs and give his team the 2-1 advantage.
From there, Espinel hit a towering shot over the right field fence to put the Mustangs up 3-1 in the top of the fourth.
“It was just the first pitch and it was inside; I golfed it,” Espinel said.
With the two-run lead, Maniscalco did his job on the mound and was backed by a solid defensive performance, as Weinstein made some key plays at third as well as the outfield.
Maniscalco finished the night throwing a complete game, striking out four and giving up just five hits and three walks mainly using his fastball as he said he had trouble locating his off-speed stuff.
Warde added to its lead in the sixth as pinch-hitter Quinn Hermann scored from second off a hit from co-captain Dakota Dejordy. Hermann just beat the throw to home to make it a 4-1 lead.
“We don’t really have one or two dominant hitters in the lineup,” Caron said. “Everybody just contributes…we don’t strikeout a lot.”
Ludlowe, which was coming off a win over Greenwich, saw solid performances on the mound from Eddie Magi (5) and O’Leary, batting the entire game.
Down three runs in the seventh, Nate Klein gave his team some life as he smashed a two-run home run to make it 4-3. The Falcons (1-4, 1-3) couldn’t add anymore as the game ended on a groundout.
“I think the guys came out strong against him tonight,” Ludlowe head coach Mike Francese said of his team again Maniscalco. “I think our guys had opportunities to have good at bats against him but he battled out whenever we did have someone on base.”
Warde (4-0 FCIAC) will get a big test Monday as they face Staples at home.
Warde 020 101 0–4 7 1
Ludlowe 100 000 2–3 5 0
Batteries: W: Reece Maniscalco (W) and John Natoli. L: Eddie Magi (L), Patrick O’Leary (6) and CJ Hanrahan.