NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Union Catholic starting pitcher TJ Hartnett threw a complete game shutout, to beat New Providence, 2-0, on Tuesday's at Miller Field.
Hartnett allowed six hits, while striking out five, moving to 4-0 on the year, as the Vikings improved to 12-3.
"TJ's done a great job for us all year long," Union Catholic head coach Jim Reagan said. "He's 4-0 now. He throws strikes. He pounds the strike zone. He's able to keep kids off balance. He's been great for us all year. This was probably his best game of the year."
Union Catholic scored a run in each of the first two innings to jump ahead 2-0. Ryan Kahn scored in the first on a fielder's choice ground out off the bat of Ryan DePaul. Brendan Lloyd then crossed the plate in the second on Kahn's RBI single.
The rest of the game belonged to Hartnett. He did not allow a runner to successfully pass second base.
"What I tried to do was pound the strike zone," Hartnett said. "I put them on the playing field to challenge them and have them make the plays. All I have to do is make strikes. I have my defense behind me and they've never let me down."
During the game's seven innings, five runners reached second. The two that tried to get to third were both tagged out.
In the fourth, Marc Giacalone roped a double into the left field alley, but he was tagged out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Then with one out in the seventh, after pinch hitter Alan Payne reached on an error, Jeff Doran was caught trying to steal third, essentially ending any chance at late inning heroics for the Pioneers.
"That hurts you," New Providence head coach Chris Brodeur said. "Absolutely that hurts you. We want to gamble. We want to see if we can test teams. Today, we lost that gamble. We lost that bet."
The loss dropped the Pioneers to an even 7-7 on the year, while Union Catholic improves to 12-3.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday for the second round of the Union County Tournament. Union Catholic will face Cranford, while the Pioneers head to Elizabeth High School.