By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 7, 2002
NEW PORT RICHEY -- After four innings, Ridgewood and Pasco stood at a 4-4 tie, the top teams in Pasco County playing each other as close as their records would indicate. In the end, the Pirates' bats were too much for the Rams.
Pasco (18-4) got four RBIs from Anton Standifer and three from Chris Nyman to take a 9-4 victory and sweep the season series with Ridgewood (18-4). The win also moved Pasco into first place in the Sunshine Athletic Conference standings.
The game pitted two of the county's top starting pitchers against each other, but neither Nyman nor Ridgewood's Richie Hittel earned a decision.
Pasco jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, highlighted by Nyman's two-run home run, but the Rams chased him from the game in the fourth after Monte Werner's bases-loaded double tied the score. The turning point came when Pirates reliever Matt Smith came in to face cleanup hitter Aaron McLamar with runners at second and third and one out. Ridgewood called for a suicide squeeze, but McLamar struck out swinging and Hittel was tagged out by catcher Juan Lopez.
Smith (6-2) threw 3 2/3 innings of one-hit scoreless relief, while Pasco had better luck against Ridgewood's Matt Laliberte (4-3).
A failed pickoff attempt allowed the winning run to score in the fifth, and Standifer followed with an RBI triple. The Pirates put the game away with three runs in the seventh on a 2-run single by Standifer and a sacrifice fly from Nyman.
Pasco finished with 11 hits, but Ridgewood had plenty of runners on base as well, getting seven hits and seven walks.
Ridgewood's Josh Le'Roy had a pair of RBI doubles, but the first was the only two-out hit on the night for the Rams, who stranded eight runners in the first five innings, including five in scoring position.
The Pirates improve to 12-1 in SAC play with three games remaining, while Ridgewood is one game back at 11-2. Pasco won the first meeting 7-3 three weeks ago and both teams sit atop their respective districts.