Streaking Masuk tops ND-Fairfield
FAIRFIELD -- The line drive hit Masuk pitcher Chris Lindquist at the bottom of his right shin. He spun and fell to the seat of his pants, and coach Ralph Franco was worried for a moment that the senior right-hander who'd stabilized the staff could be hurt again.
Lindquist took a moment, dusted himself off, took a couple of warmup tosses and was ready to go. A couple of hours later, he'd finished up a three-hitter in a 6-3 win at Notre Dame-Fairfield.
"You've got to evaluate yourself, make sure you're all right," Lindquist said. "You've got to realize you've got to get through it. You've got to help your team out. Whatever it takes to win, you've got to do that."
Masuk (12-5, 10-1 SWC) has won nine in a row and 11 out of 12, and it clinched at least a home game in the SWC quarterfinals. Notre Dame fell to 9-8, 5-6.
Catcher Matt Romaniello went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, and Masuk's defense was near-flawless. That line drive off Lindquist in the second was the only hit he allowed until the sixth; Ed Schwartz, who'd hit the liner, blasted a three-run homer to left that inning to cut the Masuk lead to 5-3.
After that, Lindquist -- who had a shoulder injury early in the year -- set down the last six, finishing with 10 strikeouts against two walks and two hit batsmen.
"He's been doing such a great job for us coming back off that injury, I'd hate to see him get another one in his senior year," Franco said.
"He got out of the jams when he needed to. That was probably the difference in the game."
Lancers pitcher Matt DeFilippo threw strikes, and he and two relievers would've had a much different time without seven Lancers errors.
"Our pitching has been fantastic over the last week, and we can't make the plays," coach Bill Mazzucco said.
Four errors in the top of the second inning contributed to three Masuk runs amid a start full of weird events: a dropped sacrifice fly (Romaniello got his first RBI that way), a dropped throw at first base, a foul ball that bounced up into the right sleeve of Lancers designated hitter Brendan Barger's jersey.
While the crowd was still chuckling over Barger's adventure, Schwartz's first-pitch liner smacked into Lindquist.
"I knew right away it was going to be a battle," Lindquist said.
"You've got to try to ignore it, act like it's not there. You've got to keep battling."
He came back to get two strikeouts.
"Chris is one of the best pitchers in the league," Mazzucco said. "He pitched very well today."
Romaniello made it 5-0 with a two-out, two-run single in the fifth, then added insurance with another two-out single in the seventh. He drove in Joe Porricelli three times.
Schwartz's homer followed a Kevin Bortnick single and a hit batsman.
"Eddie has been doing fantastic," Mazzucco said. "He's been hitting the ball and hitting the ball hard all the time. He's always capable of hitting a home run with his swing. He's a big part of the team this year."
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MASUK 030 020 1--6 8 1
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 000 003 0--3 3 7
Records: Masuk 12-5, 10-1 SWC; Notre Dame-Fairfield 9-8, 5-6. Batteries: M--Chris Lindquist (W, 4-1) and Matt Romaniello; ND--Matt DeFilippo (L, 3-3), Pete Minone (5), Jon Suporn (7) and Kevin Bortnick, Matt Carloto (5). Home runs: ND--Ed Schwartz.