Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde renew baseball rivalry tonight

The Fairfield baseball rivalry has been quite one sided.

Fairfield Warde has dominated its counterparts from the south to the tune of 4-0 since both schools opened their rivalry in 2006. Ludlowe and Warde will renew their rivalry tonight at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard at 7 p.m.

"We're definitely excited to play them," Ludlowe Head Coach Keith O'Rourke said. "It is very exciting for the young men on either team. I'd be excited for the opportunity to play in this venue."

Last year's Warde win was especially backbreaking for the Falcons because Ludlowe had the go-ahead run on third base in the sixth inning, and had the game-winning run cut down at home plate in the seventh, before Warde put a seven spot on the Falcons in the 10th inning en route to a 10-4 win

But neither side puts much stock in the Mustangs' dominance over the Falcons thus far.

"You always want to beat your crosstown rival," O'Rourke said. "We just haven't done it yet."

"We've had quite a few fortunate bounces in certain games," Warde Head Coach Mark Caron said.

What both sides do put stock in is the importance of the game. The Mustangs have lost nine of 11 and need to win four more games to qualify for the state playoffs. A win over Ludlowe would be a big step in the right direction of achieving that goal.

"This is a must-win for us," Caron said. "We hope we can pull off the upset."

For Ludlowe, the game is about getting back on the right track for the FCIAC and state playoffs. The Falcons had lost five straight entering yesterday's game with Ridgefield and were severely humbled by Staples on Monday, 16-6.

"We have to win to stay in a playoff race," O'Rourke said. "We don't have the luxury of losing games."

Added to the number of storylines is the pitching matchup. Both sides will toss lefties on the mound, and Ludlowe's Steve Guasco will make his first varsity start for the Falcons tonight. Guasco has seen time out of the bullpen both this year and last.

"We plotted that we would activate him as a starter around this time in the year," O'Rourke said. "We're confident in him."

Warde will counter with lefty Jake Rosner who is 1-1 this year. Caron acknowledged that shutting down the high-powered Falcons' lineup is not easy, but he likes the matchup that Rosner gives him.

"Nobody matches up well with a lineup like Ludlowe's," Caron said. "But he's a crafty lefty and I think he can put

forth a good outing for us."

Also added in the subplots is the venue. Warde and Ludlowe will return to Harbor Yard after a one year hiatus, and the Falcons have never had success playing at the big ballpark in Bridgeport. O'Rourke doesn't make too much of the venue, but it is hard for kids to ignore the magnitude of the moment.

"You could play this game anywhere," O'Rourke said. "It's a big game because it is Ludlowe vs. Warde."