FAIRFIELD — Down two runs in the fifth and playing poorly, the Darien softball team never blinked.

Even with a chance at the FCIAC finals seemingly fading, the No. 2 Blue Wave relied on their experience, leading to six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to defeat sixth-ranked Ludlowe 8-4 Tuesday at Sacred Heart University.

Darien will face No. 1 Westhill — a 6-5 walk off winner over No. 5 St. Joseph in eight innings — back at SHU on Wednesday for the championship.

“That’s the only thing you take away from this game — they didn’t quit,” Darien coach Nick DeMaio said. “I said to them in the fifth inning, ‘Forget about anything up to this point, you’re trailing by two, you’ve done this many times this season, just go out and get some runs.’ And they did it.”

Hailey King and Kalani Caruso led off the inning with back-to-back doubles, Cassidy Schiff singled, Sophia Barbour doubled and Kristen Picard walked to fuel the Darien rally.

Jess Carlo delivered the back-breaking in the inning, hitting a two-run triple just inside the first base line, eventually scoring on an overthrow at third.

“I didn’t have great at-bats before that but my teammates really picked me up, and I was just like, ‘I’m going to do this,’ ” Carlo said. “As soon as it went down the line I thought, that’s it, that’s the game, we’re totally going to win this.”

As she tends to do with a late lead, Darien pitcher Sophia Barbour slammed the door on Ludlowe, retiring six of the last seven to end the game.

“That’s the difference,” DeMaio said of Barbour working with a lead. “She was a little tentative in the beginning of the game, trying to hit spots. Once we got that lead I think that made Sophia relax and got her fired up.”

Ludlowe scored in the first on a Megan Szuchman triple, then twice in the fourth and once in the fifth — all on Darien errors.

Overall, the Blue Wave committed five errors in the contest, allowing the Falcons to lead for most of the the game. Ludlowe simply had no late answer once the Darien bats woke up.

“We’re going to keep working on our bats and stay together as a team,” Ludlowe coach Shari Paci said of the upcoming state tournament. “I feel like we really fought hard and it wasn’t an easy game today. We’re just going to keep fighting next week.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Barbour. Darien’s senior righty worked around five errors, allowing just one earned run and striking out five. At the plate, Barbour went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.

FLIPPING MOMENTUM

Darien need something to break right for it, and got it in the top of the fifth. With a runner on third and one out, Ludlowe’s Lillian Traum hit, what appeared to be, a sacrifice fly to right field. However, after appeal, it was determined the Falcon runner left early from third, giving Darien a double play and ending the threat.

The Blue Wave went on to score six runs in the bottom of the fifth.

“We absolutely needed something like that,” DeMaio said. “That helped us stop the bleeding and get in. That’s one of our sayings, and that’s what that play did.”

FUELING UP

With no off-day in between the semifinals and FCIAC championship game, Carlo is going with an SAT-like strategy of getting prepared for Wednesday’s matchup.

“We have to go to bed early,” the third baseman laughed. “Eat some good food and come to play.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com; @reportedbytheAP

DARIEN 8, FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 4

FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 100 210 0—4 6 1

DARIEN 002 060 X—8 11 5

Batteries: FL—Brittany Romero (L) and Sotiria Boci; D—Sophia Barbour (W) and Caroline Krueger.