Thanks to a pair of outstanding performances on the mound, no one in the starting lineup of either the Staples or Fairfield Warde baseball teams was able to produce a hit that would score the game's first run.
After Staples' Rob Vallone and Warde's Nick Nardone traded zeroes for six innings, up stepped pinch hitter Sean Homa for the Mustangs with runners on first and second in the top of the seventh.
Homa delivered in a big way, breaking a scoreless tie with an RBI double that sent the Mustangs to a 2-0 win over Staples on Friday afternoon. The win concluded a week of litmus tests against some of the FCIAC's top contenders for Warde.
"We knew we had a tough week with New Canaan, Greenwich, Staples and Norwalk," Warde coach Mark Caron said. "We had a goal to go 2-2, and to do it against Staples on their home field shows we are a team that's for real this year, and we're excited about it."
Nardone was stellar for Warde (5-4), firing a complete game shutout by allowing just three hits while recording seven strikeouts, including one against Nick Vega to end the game.
"If there's one word to describe Nick, it's that he's a competitor." Caron said. "And he finds a way to win. He's a winner and a competitor, and he demonstrated that today. He knows how to pitch and keep hitters off balance."
Vallone was equally strong for Staples before running into trouble in the top of the seventh. The first two batters reached before Homa doubled off reliever Ben Casparius -- one of only two extra base hits either team had Friday.
"Sean has a real quick, short quick swing," Caron said. "I figured that he would give us the best chance to put a ball in the gap like he did."
Three batters later, Nardone delivered an RBI single with the bases loaded to double Warde's advantage. The second run provided more than enough cushion.
"I don't think when I hit," Nardone said. "I go up, I see a pitch and I swing, that's all I do. That was just an extra run; all I needed was one today. Obviously I was excited to get a little insurance just in case."
Offense remains inconsistent for the Wreckers (6-3), who dropped their second in three games. Staples has scored five runs in its three losses this season.
"I'm very disappointed in the lineup," Wreckers coach Jack McFarland said. "We've worked hard on trying to score runs, we scored eight in the first inning against Trinity (Wednesday) and today we come out on a nice day; I'm disappointed."
For the second straight outing, Vallone ran into an equally outstanding pitcher. Vallone matched zeroes with Greenwich's Kyle Dunster in a 2-1 extra inning win for the Wreckers last Thursday.
"Rob pitched great today," McFarland said. "The disappointing part is that it's a wasted pitching effort. He pitched great against Greenwich and today, but he gets a no decision and a loss. It's tough."
Fairfield Warde 2, Staples 0
FAIRFIELD WARDE 000 000 2--2 6 1
STAPLES 000 000 0--0 3 2
Records: Fairfield Warde 5-4, 5-2 FCIAC; Staples 6-3, 5-2.
Batteries: FW--Nick Nardone and Anthony Miller. S--Rob Villone (L), Ben Casparius and Adam Dulsky. Highlights: FW--Nardone threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits. Sean Homa had an RBI double.