With pitcher Aliza Guerrero cruising, and after catching a huge break, it seemed the Fairfield Ludlowe softball team could be poised for another trip to the state quarterfinals.

But then the fourth inning happened.

Danbury scored four times in the fourth inning as the eighth-seeded Hatters won 5-1 over No. 9 Ludlowe in the state tournament's second round at Danbury High School.

"I'm really proud of the girls hitting," Danbury coach Harry Trohalis said. "We finally broke through. We haven't been scoring many runs."

Junior relieft pitcher Kara Orr struck out four and allowed just two base runners in 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief of starter Mary Sigillo. Orr has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 state tournament innings thus far this year.

Guerrero surrendered just six hits in six innings, retiring the first nine she faced. The Falcons managed just four hits, finishing their season 14-8.

"We didn't bring our hitting shoes with us," Ludlowe coach Tony Samuelian said. "You've got to do that in the tournament. You can't win a game with one run, and we knew that."

Orr also scored two runs and center fielder Marisa Ferguson drove in two for Danbury. The Hatters will trek to No. 1 Southington in Friday's quarterfinals.

But Ludlowe plated the game's first run in the third inning. With two outs, the Falcons loaded the bases with two singles by Emily Nelson and Gillian Kennedy sandwiched around Guerrero's walk. Brenna Martini hit a ground ball back to Sigillo, and the senior's throw home sailed over catcher Michelle Jones' head, allowing Nelson to score the game's first run.

"It was deflating," Trohalis said. "It's a play she makes 99 out of 100 times and she just didn't."

"We caught a huge break there," Samuelian said.

Orr came in relief and struck out Nicky Tygesen, ending the threat.

"I didn't want it to get out of hand," Trohalis said. "I needed a strikeout and (Orr) is a strikeout pitcher."

Four of Danbury's hits came in the four-run, fourth inning. Trailing 1-0, leadoff batter Erica Carboni walked and stole second. Kristy Trotta laid down a bunt, but no Ludlowe fielder covered first base, leaving runners on the corners and no outs.

"Normally we play a lot more clean than that," Samuelian said.

Orr followed with a single, scoring Carboni and tying the score.

"(Orr) has been hitting the heck out of the ball," Trohalis said. "As soon as we tied the score, I knew we were alright."

Ferguson doubled home Trotta and courtesy runner Hunter Enriquez, giving Danbury a 3-1 lead. With two outs, Hannah Keiser singled home Ferguson, lifting Danbury's advantage to 4-1.

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

Danbury 5, Ludlowe 1

FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 001 000 0 1 4 3

DANBURY 000 401 x 5 6 1

Records: FL-- 14-8, DHS-- 16-7; Batteries: FL-- Aliza Guerrero (L) and Katie DeCarlo; DHS-- Mary Sigillo, Kara Orr (W) and Michelle Jones; Doubles: DHS-- Marisa Ferguson.

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