Spartan Baseball Sweeps to Record; 29th Victory Sets New Season High
The St. Thomas Aquinas Baseball team swept a twin bill over Mercy College, 11-0 and 6-4 at Provident Bank Park. In doing so, they established a new mark with their 29th victory, topping the 28 set in the 2008 season while retaining a share of first place in the East Coast Conference. STAC is now 29-15 overall and 14-5 in conference play, clinching one of the four berths in the conference's post-season double-elimination tournament. Mercy fell to 6-34 overall and 4-18 in ECC action, and the Mavericks suffered their 15th straight defeat.
As part of the day's festivities honoring St. Thomas Aquinas' commitment to the Wounded Warrior Project, each team sported specially-designed camouflage hats bearing the team logos throughout the afternoon's action.
STAC would break on top in the bottom of the first when Mike Russo's force out grounder scored Joe Antenucci. That would be all Spartan ace Matt Marotta would need, as he threw five scoreless innings, yielding only a leadoff single in the second.
Meanwhile, the hosts would break the contest open with four each in the third and fourth innings and two more in the fifth. George Wargo's second booming triple to center in a week drove in one run and was followed by Stanley Susana's three-run homer to put STAC up by a five-spot.
Frank Salerno's two-RBI triple in the next inning opened the flood gates as the Mavericks were unable to generate any attack. Marotta set a school record for wins in his own right, improving to 7-1 this season while Mercy starter Brian McNamara lost in his first decision of the season. Susana drove in four runs, Salerno brought home three, and Antenucci added two as STAC pounded out 11 hits.
Between-game ceremonies featured relatives of current Spartan athletes and coaches who served in the military honored on the field, as well as a check presentation for $1,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project on behalf of St. Thomas Aquinas College. Mr. Gerald Oswald, Sr., age 92, a veteran and also the father of STAC Director of Athletics Gerry Oswald, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and game two was underway.
Again, STAC would strike early with single runs in the first two innings. Antenucci opened the scoring after George Wargo's rocket hit Maverick hurler Tyler Savin, whose ensuing throw sailed down the first base line. Savin remained in the game and committed another error in the second to make it 2-0.
Mercy, entering the afternoon with just six victories on the season, showed their mettle with a run in the fourth and three in the fifth off Nick May and reliever Eric Cooper to take a 4-2 advantage. An RBI grounder by Joseph Gismondi put the Mavs on the board in the fourth, and a pair of Spartan errors contributed to three unearned runs in the next frame, as Andrew Bock, Ken Post and Vinny Orlando each brought in runs.
That lead would be short-lived, however, as STAC would quickly tie in the fifth. Salerno brought his team within one, with his double-steal of home plate adding to his current single-season record in that category with 33. Russo then deadlocked the score with a big two-out single.
STAC resumed charge quickly in the sixth, as Andrew Hancsak's leadoff homer to right put his squad on top to stay. Salerno's second triple of the day would bring in the game's final run, as Cooper closed strong on the mound, picking up the win to improve to 4-1. Savin was saddled with the loss and stands at 2-6.
The Spartans complete the weekend set at Mercy in Dobbs Ferry tomorrow, April 29 at 1:00 pm, then are off until traveling to Greenvale for a big showdown with CW Post on Wednesday, May 2. They return to Provident Bank Park for a non-conference rematch with Felician College on Friday, May 4, before finishing the regular season with a three-game weekend set against Queens College.
Notes - In addition to his new record for victories, with his three strikeouts today, Matt Marotta ran his season total to 61, just two off the school's all-time single season mark entering the final week of the season... Joe Antenucci has now reached base in 25 straight games.
East Coast Conference Standings (thru
|xSt. Thomas Aquinas||14||5||.737||---|
x = clinched ECC Tournament slot z = eliminated from ECC tournament contention
Remaining ECC Games
Saturday, April 28
@ St. Thomas Aquinas 11, 6; Mercy 0, 4
CW Post 7, 8; @ Molloy 2, 0
Bridgeport 9, @ Queens 5
Sunday, April 29
St. Thomas Aquinas @ Mercy, 1:00
Queens @ Bridgeport (2), 1:00
Molloy @ CW Post, 1:00
Wednesday, May 2
St. Thomas Aquinas @ CW Post, 3:00
Dowling @ Queens, 3:30
Mercy @ Bridgeport, 5:00
Friday, May 4
Molloy @ Bridgeport (2), 1:00
Saturday, May 5
St. Thomas Aquinas @ Queens (2), 1:00
CW Post @ Dowling (2), 12:00
Sunday, May 6
Queens @ St. Thomas Aquinas, 1:00
Bridgeport @ Molloy, 1:00
Dowling @ CW Post, 1:00
- End Regular Season -