DARIEN -- As soon as the ball hit the mitt of Greenwich first baseman Mike Genaro in the bottom of the seventh inning for the final out of the game Cardinals fans started yelling, "road warriors."

And that is exactly what Greenwich has been for much of the season, especially the last two days. The 21st-seeded Cardinals advanced to the Class LL quarterfinals Thursday by upsetting No. 5 Darien 4-1, just a day removed from their win over No. 12 Fairfield Warde.

"The weird thing is the only time we lost on the road was to Trinity, New Canaan and Stamford -- all in the last inning," Greenwich coach Phil Tarantino said. "We've been in or won every road game, I don't know why, but it's a unique group because they don't complain about time, they just play their hearts out."

Greenwich moves onto another road test Friday, playing at No. 4 Staples, Greenwich's third straight state game against another FCIAC team.

The scrappy Cardinals were led Thursday by a sophomore pitcher Anthony Ferraro. The southpaw fired six innings against a normally potent Darien offense, striking out three and picking off three runners with a lethal move to first base.

"I was trying to hit my spots but most of all my defense helped me," said Ferraro, who was quick to deflect any praise. "I didn't overpower them but our defense won the game."

Neither defense committed an error in the contest, but wild pitches and base-running mistakes ultimately cost the Blue Wave.

Greenwich scored its first run in the second after Kevin Woodring singled and advanced to third on two wild pitches. He was brought home on a single by Paul Williams. The Cardinals second run came in the fourth after Erik Mini singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a groundout and came home on Carlos Fernandez' sac fly.

"As coaches that's all we can control, we can put them in position to be successful and teach them fundamentally how to play and then it's, `can they believe in it?' " Tarantino said.

Darien had an opportunity to tie the game in the fifth, but could only muster one run on three hits. Greenwich caught pinch-runner Matt Pettit in a rundown trying to go home on a wild pitch and then gunned down Danny Siemers trying to take second on an RBI single.

"They out executed us offensively with the small ball they played and then the timely and situational hitting they had," Darien coach Mike Scott said. "We made a couple mistakes on the bases and it unfortunately came back to us."

The season as a whole was one to remember for the Wave, who won the FCIAC regular-season crown, but couldn't bring back any more hardware to the school.

"I'm so proud of the effort they've put in, they put Darien baseball on the map," said a misty-eyed Scott. "We were one of the best teams in the FCIAC and one loss doesn't define a season, it's a tough pill to swallow but we're proud of the mark they made on this program."

As for Greenwich at Staples Friday an elated Tarantino already has his strategy in place.

"I don't know, man," said a laughing Taratino. "We have to score more runs than they do."

aparelli@bcnnew.com; @reportedbytheAP

Greenwich 4, Darien 1

GREENWICH 010 100 2--4 7 0

DARIEN 000 010 0--1 5 0

Batteries: G--Anthony Ferraro (6, W), Alex Loparco (S) and Kevin Woodring; D--Anthony DiMeglio (6.1, L), Andrew Winch and TJ Adiletta. Highlights: G--Anthony Ferraro threw six innings of one run ball, getting the win. Paul Williams went 2-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. D--Danny Siemers had an RBI single.