Down to last strike, Ludlowe dodges a no-no
The standout senior right-hander nearly threw one himself against struggling Fairfield Ludlowe.
Daniello came one strike away from throwing his first career no-hitter, but still gave the Senators the type of dominant effort they needed to post a 5-1 victory over the Falcons Monday afternoon at Kiwanis Field.
With two outs and two strikes against him, Ludlowe's Tommy Howell poked an opposite-field single to right to spoil the gem.
The Falcons scratched for a run in the first on a walk, an infield error and a sacrifice fly by Mike Poudrier, But after that, Daniello became nearly untouchable, sitting down 16 straight batters going into the seventh.
That included a stretch of four straight strikeouts spanning the fourth and fifth innings.
Daniello, the reigning FCIAC Player of the Year, will play at UConn next season.
While Daniello failed to cross off another box on his growing list of personal accomplishments, he succeeded in getting McMahon (12-6 overall, 11-5 FCIAC) one step closer to clinching a spot in the conference playoffs.
"Yes, I'm disappointed," said Daniello, who struck out eight and walked two during his 91-pitch effort. "But we got the win and that's more important. Hopefully this will secure us a spot in the FCIACs."
Now riding a three-game losing streak, Ludlowe (9-9 overall, 8-8 FCIAC) must win its final two games -- both on the road against Trumbull and Darien -- and get plenty of help to reach the playoffs.
"We're not mathematically eliminated yet," Ludlowe head coach Keith O'Rourke said. "Some crazy things have to happen. But I've seen crazier things happen. Right now we just have to go out and worry about winning our next game."
Amazingly enough, Daniello (6-1) crafted his complete-game one-hitter despite pitching with a severely injured ring finger on his right hand. Daniello suffered the injury fielding a ground ball against St. Joseph on Saturday.
Ludlowe senior left-hander Tim Moran battled hard against Daniello, allowing two runs on just two hits over the first four innings using an assortment of tricky off-speed pitches.
Moran (3-3) allowed five runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
"He gave a good performance against a good team," O'Rourke said. "Tim did pitch well, but it's awfully tough when you don't get any hits until out No. 20."
McMahon took a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff walk by Restivo, a single to right by Daniello, a sacrifice fly by Cox with the infield drawn in and an RBI-groundout by Dennis Warfield.
Matthew Doran is a freelance writer from Fairfield County