Timely hitting from No. 3 hitter Jonathan Dreher, strong pitching from J.T. Hintzen and solid play in the field lifted Greenwich to an 8-4 home win vs. FCIAC rival New Canaan on Friday.
The Cardinals, who opened their season with a victory against Daniel Hand on Thursday, improved to 2-0, while the Rams are 2-1 after the loss. Greenwich jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and after New Canaan tied the score at 3-3, the Cards scored twice in the fifth inning take a 5-3 advantage. The Rams closed to within 5-4, but the Cardinals padded their lead, scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Dreher was in the middle of it all offensively for the Cardinals, going 3 for 4 with a double and four RBI. Hit hit RBI singles his first two times at the plate, then delivered a clutch two-run double in the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Devin McGrath and left fielder Kyle Dunster set the table for Dreher and the middle of the order. The duo were on base in seven of their combined eight at-bats. McGrath was hit by a pitch twice and was 2 for 2, while Dunster singled, was hit by a pitch, walked and laid down a sacrifice bunt.
The Cardinals showed how deep a lineup they have, receiving hits from eight of nine players in the lineup. First baseman Justin Gaccione just missed a home run, doubling near the right field fence, right fielder Sean Marks had an RBI double and third baseman Jack Giuliani delivered a double.
“I really like how our order is looking right now,” Dreher said. “The guys hitting in front of me are doing a great job and Justin behind me can do whatever I don’t do. He’s a great hitter.”
Said McGrath: “The hitting has been fantastic the first two games and are pitchers are stepping up. Playing against New Canaan is always fun. They’re a rival of ours in every sport.”
Greenwich coach Phil Tarantino said being a senior has played a role in Dreher’s hot start at the plate.
“He’s a senior and when you are a senior you trust yourself more out there, which is a huge deal,” Tarantino said.
Hintzen, a senior right-hander, struck out five batters in five effective innings for the win. Displaying an impressive fastball, the Cardinals’ hurler located his pitches well. He was also the beneficiary of some slick fielding behind him. Giuliani made a couple of nice plays at third base, while Keigo Fujikura and Alex Loparco did the job at shortstop and second base, respectively.
“When Loparco, Keigo and Jack put their bodies in front of hard hit balls and get outs for me it’s a great feeling for our whole team,” Hintzen said.
Greenwich also received a fine outing from right-hander John Mikalopas, who relieved Hintzen after five innings.
“I’m very proud of him,” Hintzen said. “It was great to see him come in after me and finish what I started.”
Dan Rajkowski slugged a solo home run and Brandon Abate delivered an RBI single for New Canaan, which sent right-hander JR Anderson to the mound. Anderson worked five innings before giving way to David Giusti. The Cardinals have a quick turnaround, as they will be in action Saturday at home against Southington – a team they lost to last season.Tarantino isn’t sure who will start Saturday’s game.
“Southington is is arguably the best program in the state year in and year out,” Tarantino said. “They hit behind runners, they hold runners and they don’t make mistakes.”
Here’s my game story on the Greenwich/New Canaan game: http://bit.ly/RbBigt