STRATFORD -- Notre Dame-Fairfield coach Bill Mazzucco saw a bit of doubt in Mark Komaromi's eyes during the senior's eighth-inning sprint around second base.
Komaromi glanced toward the outfield, then turned his attention on Mazzucco, who was waving him home from the third base coaching box. Knowing the situation, the Lancers' slugger kept on running.
Komaromi's inside-the-park home run snapped a pitcher's duel and pushed ND-Fairfield past Stratford 2-1 in eight innings Saturday at Penders Field.
"That was a huge hit for us," Mazzucco said. "He really came through."
Sophomore right-hander Dillon Stimpson was masterful over eight innings, scattering five hits in a complete-game victory. Stimpson struck out 10, including three in the eighth around a two-out double by Joe Marsan.
Stratford starter Jack Duffy was saddled with the hard-luck loss despite a complete game of his own. Duffy retired 16 of 19 batters before the Lancers' fifth and final hit broke the tie.
"We had two guys going at it like two aces," Stratford coach Mickey Buckmir said.
ND-Fairfield (4-2) nearly took the lead in the seventh, but Matt Coppola was tagged out at home attempting to score on a wild pitch with no outs. That came after Coppola lined a lead-off triple to right.
"It was a little bit of a hesitation," Mazzucco said. "No hesitation, I think we score there. But Matt Coppola, that was an excellent at-bat."
Coppola's triple was only ND-Fairfield's second hit since the third inning. Duffy struck out 10 and walked just one after surrendering the first run in a lengthy first inning.
The right-hander's lone mistake after that came on a 2-2 curveball with two outs to Komaromi. The first baseman crushed a pitch that rolled to the wall.
"In any other park, that's probably out," Mazzucco said. "Definitely in our place, that's a definite home run."
Colin Cegelka was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and later scored on a one-out single by Komaromi. The Red Devils knotted the game in the second when Jake Sosik was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
After a shaky second inning, in which the Red Devils produced three hits, Stimpson retired 18 of the final 20 batters for his second win. Read Full Article
"Whenever he's out here, we know we have a very good chance to win," Komaromi said.
Stimpson relished the opportunity to battle in a pitcher's duel.
"I love it. There's nothing better than a pitcher's duel," he said. "You know the team really relies on you."
Much is expected of Stimpson coming off a 7-2 campaign as a freshman. The right-hander was stellar in his first start of the season, tossing a one-hit shutout of Sacred Heart last Saturday.
"He really understands his pitching," Mazzucco said, "and how to pitch to players. He's doing fantastic."
Stratford (1-4) moved only two men into scoring position from the second inning on. Both scoring threats were thwarted by strikeouts.
Outside of a 15-1 win over Kolbe Cathedral on Thursday, the Red Devils have plated just five runs in four games.
"We're pitching, we're playing excellent defense," Buckmir said, "it's just that the bats haven't come around yet. We're hoping with the warmer weather they do."
ND-FAIRFIELD 100 000 01 -- 2 5 1
STRATFORD 010 000 00 -- 1 5 0
Records: ND-Fairfield 4-2; Stratford 1-4. Batteries: ND-F -- Dillon Stimpson (W) and Matt Lasky; S -- Jack Duffy (L) and Sam Breiner.