The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team ended the 2016 season with a 10-4 loss to Southern New Hampshire State University at the NCAA East Regional in Rindge, NH. STAC's season comes to a close with a 37-17 record while SNHU (48-6) advances to Monday's final, playing top seeded host Franklin Pierce University in an all-NE-10 Regional Final.
For the second straight day, the Spartans found themselves in a first inning hole as Carson Helms' two-run double off starter Sam Vincenzo keyed a three-run outburst. STAC answered quickly in the bottom half as Brandon Fischer led off with a walk and Joey Pena singled to center. With a 2-0 count on Deven Del Priore, SNHU coach Scott Loiseau went to the bullpen, calling for Mitchell Powers to relieve starter Joe McCarthy.
Del Priore walked to load the bases and Nick Gargan drove in a pair before being cut down at second, cutting the deficit to 3-2 with the tying run at third. Powers would strand the runner, however, and turn in a stellar performance from there.
Vinenzo settled down to retire nine straight batters, but the Penmen added a run in the fourth to make the score 4-2 on Sean Webster's sac fly. Nick Gargan led off the bottom half with a deep homer to right to draw back within one, but that was as close as the Spartans would get.
Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases in the top of the fifth, and reliever Chad Sinko nearly escaped the jam with a strikeout of Matt Rabbito. Two wild pitches would prove costly, however, bringing in a pair of runs to open a 6-3 gap.
Southern New Hampshire pulled away with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh, offsetting a STAC run in the home seventh, as Powers remained strong for the Penmen, doing the rest of the distance to earn his first win of the season, which Vincenzo taking the loss to drop to 3-2. Pena had three hits to lead the Spartans' offense.
Thursday, May 19
Game 1: (4) Felician 3, (5) Bridgeport 0
Game 2: (7) Dowling 4, (2) Southern New Hampshire 0
Friday, May 20
Game 3: (3) St. Thomas Aquinas 5, vs. (6) Molloy 2
Game 4: Southern NH 11, Molloy 5 (Molloy eliminated)
Game 5: (1) Franklin Pierce 18, Felician 0
Game 6: St. Thomas Aquinas 4, Dowling 0
Saturday, May 21
Game 7: Southern NH (1L) 20, Felician (2L) 5 (Felician eliminated)
Game 8: Bridgeport (1L) 7, Dowling (2L) 6 (Dowling eliminated)
Game 9: Franklin Pierce (0L) 12, St. Thomas Aquinas (1L) 8
Sunday, May 22
Game 10: Southern NH (1L) 5, Bridgeport (2L) 2 (Bridgeport eliminated)
Game 11: Southern New Hampshire (1L) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (2L) (STAC eliminated)
Monday, May 23
Game 12: Franklin Pierce (0L) vs. Southern New Hampshire (1L) -- Noon
Game 13: Game 12 rematch* -- 40 minutes after conclusion of Game 12
* Game 13 only necessary if Game 11 Winner wins Game 12.