WILMINGTON – St. Mark’s pitcher Jacques Dubecq labored through the first three innings of the Spartans’ game against Salesianum on May 2, walking six batters in that span. The senior, however, worked out of trouble each time, including a bases-loaded jam in the second.
A different Dubecq emerged with two outs in the third. He struck out a batter to get out of the third, then retired the next nine Sals hitters. Brian Gilardi came on in the seventh, striking out two in a quick 1-2-3 inning as the two Spartans threw a combined no-hitter in a 3-0 win at Frawley Stadium. For St. Mark’s, it was the team’s fifth straight win, and one of the most satisfying.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Dubecq said. “They’re out biggest rivals. It’s always a big game. You saw the crowd here. We don’t get this opportunity very often, twice a year. So to win two games, to come out here, it’s a big deal for us, and it means a lot.”
Dubecq gained command of his curveball and slider after a rocky first three innings. Salesianum loaded the bases in the second on three walks after the first two batters had been retired, and the next batter, Garrett Million, worked a full count before flying to Austin Warrington in deep right field.
He said after the third inning he taped the right sleeve on his jersey, which allowed him to throw more comfortably. His final three innings included four strikeouts, four ground balls and one fly ball. He left having retired the last 10 batters he faced, but he didn’t finish the game because he was nearing the pitch limit.
Gilardi picked up the save with a clean seventh. The Spartans’ regular shortstop sandwiched two strikeouts around a fly to center, and St. Mark’s had quieted a dangerous Sallies lineup that had averaged six runs in their past four games. The players stormed toward second base to celebrate, and Dubecq received an ice bath while conducting a postgame interview. He said he had full confidence in Gilardi to close it out.
“Brian can always get the job done. He’s always going to do his job real well,” Dubecq said.
While Dubecq commanded most of the attention, Sals starting pitcher Gene Holler did a pretty good job himself of keeping the Spartans off the board. St. Mark’s grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to some heads-up baserunning.
Eric Ludman led off the second with a single to right-center and took second on Matt Phillips’ single. After a fly out, Shane Lougheed sent a grounder to deep second base. Sals second baseman Mike Cautillo threw Lougheed out at first, but Ludman never stopped as he rounded third. His head-first slide beat the throw home. His pitcher noticed the hustle, and it was much-appreciated.
“That was important,” Dubecq said. “That really set the tone for us.”
The Spartans added their other two runs in the third. Austin Warrington walked to start the inning. Ricky Gannett sacrificed him to second, and after an intentional walk to Gilardi, J.T. Tomovich singled up the middle to score Warrington. Ludman flied to deep center for the second out, but Phillips singled again, scoring Gilardi from second.
St. Mark’s had runners reach in each of their last three at bats, but the Sals kept them from scoring another run.
Dubecq finished with eight strikeouts. Phillips had two of the Spartans’ six hits and a run batted in. St. Mark’s (10-2) travels to Georgetown on Friday for a 4 p.m. meeting with Sussex Tech.
Six different players walked for Salesianum, which had its four-game winning streak snapped. The Sals (8-4) are off until next Tuesday, when they host St. Elizabeth at 4 p.m.