Baseball: Pitching matchup goes to Darien

Behind Justin Jordan’s left arm and some timely hitting, the Darien Blue Wave baseball team defeated the Trumbull Eagles, 4-0, on Wednesday afternoon at Trumbull High School.

“Justin is one of the top players in the league and he pitched a great game today. He really shut us down,” said Trumbull head coach Phil Pacelli about the Darien southpaw.

Jordan allowed four hits, walked one and struck out nine in six shutout innings.

“I was throwing strikes letting my defense do the work. I’ve really got to thank them,” said Jordan. “This is our first game playing on grass this year so it’s a little bit different than turf and they did a phenomenal job out there.”

Offensively, Jordan got the Blue Wave offense started in the third inning with a leadoff walk. Two batters later, after moving to second on a wild pitch, Jordan came in to score on a single down the left field line by Sean O’Malley to give Darien a 1-0 lead.

Darien (5-1 overall, 2-0 FCIAC) tacked on in the fourth as Trumbull (1-2, 0-1) had multiple defensive mistakes in the inning. With one out, Justin Van de Graaf reached on an error. Two batters later, Fin Batson also reached base on an error. A walk to Jordan loaded the bases with two outs.

The next batter, Henry Williams hit a ground ball to third base and he was able to beat out the throw to first, which allowed Van de Graaf to come in to score. O’Malley followed up with a walk to force in another run and put Darien on top 3-0.

That would be the end of the day for Justin Nyarady (3.2IP, 3H, 3R, 1ER, 6BB, 2K). In his first varsity start he pitched well, despite not getting a lot of help from his defense. Stephen Ioli would come on to pitch and get a pop-up to himself to get out of the bases loaded jam.

“Our pitching has been very good. A couple of walks hurt us,” said Pacelli. “O’Malley hit the one down the line that was a solid shot. Other than that they hit a couple ground balls that didn’t leave the infield and we got a little bit unlucky there. He (Nyarady) had some nerves early in the game but he kind of overcame that a little bit.”

Darien added another run in the fifth inning. Harry Rayhill led off the inning with a walk. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mac McLean. After a fly out kept Rayhill at second, he came in to score on a single to left field by Arthur Xanthos.

On the mound, Jordan allowed just three baserunners, all singles, through the first five innings.

“He was staying low in the zone, that’s really what it is. When he’s up in the zone he gets hit. He was keeping the ball down. He was mixing pitches a bit. He was keeping them guessing,” said Darien coach Mike Scott. “That low outside pitch that he throws is tough, coupled with the lefty and that ball tailing away from the righty. If he’s living there, we are in good shape.”

In the sixth, Jordan ran into some trouble.

After a leadoff walk, he struck out the next two batters. Chris Briganti then came up and drove a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third. Jordan was able to get out of the jam by getting a ground out to Williams at shortstop.

“Pitching is one of our strengths and it’s a bonus when we get our hits together and score some runs because we can really shut any team out with our pitching,” said Jordan. “Like coach says, play boring baseball. We didn’t have any spectacular plays. Got our hits and won the game.”

In the seventh, Jackson Vaught came on in relief of Jordan and set Trumbull down in order to secure Darien’s fifth straight victory.

“We’ve seen a lot of top pitchers so far. It’s still cold out here. It’s still early. We’re not panicking,” said Pacelli.

Trumbull will return to the field on Thursday at Fairfield Prep at noon.

“The pitching we are facing is not going to get much easier tomorrow,” said Pacelli.

The Blue Wave will be back in action on Friday at Bridgeport Central at 11 a.m.

“Anytime you beat a team like Trumbull who always puts a quality team on the field it’s a good win,” said Scott.