The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to LIU Post in the Winner's Bracket of the ECC Tournament. The Spartans now face Molloy in an elimination game. The Spartans saw their 11-game winning streak snapped, falling to 38-14 on the season, with Post improving to 29-18. The winner of this afternoon's game advances to the ECC Tournament finals and will need two victories over LIU Post to earn the title.
Schedule note - Due to inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, Day Three of the Tournament will now be on Sunday, May 12, with Game Six starting at 10:00 am, followed by Game Seven, if Necessary.
Both STAC starter Chris Cepeda and LIU Post's Noah Lorenzo were dialed in early, with neither team putting a runner on base through three innings. Joe Spitaleri led off the Pioneers 4th with a single, the first hit allowed by Cepeda in 13.1 innings, coming off his no-hitter over Mercy last Sunday.
An inning-ending double-play kept both teams at the minimum batters through four innings, and the Spartans staged their best threat in the home 5th. With one out, Giovanni Dingcong and Greg Dawber recorded back-to-back singles, putting runners at first and third, but Lorenzo rebounded to strike out the next two batters to end the threat.
With eight scoreless innings in the books, both teams made a bid in the final frame. With one out, Spitaleri doubled and held after a Kenny Daley ground out. ECC Player of the Year Rob Andreoli was walked intentionally and Anthony Vaglica came through with a single to right, scoring the game's first and only run.
Joey Pena led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk, ending Lorenzo's stellar day in favor of closer Dan Jagiello. As Juan Adorno struck out, Joey Pena stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. With two down, Anthony Shkrejla ripped a single to right, too hard for Pena to attempt to score. Giovanni Dingcong followed, with Jagiello picking up the strikeout to earn the save.
Cepeda dropped to 6-3 with the tough loss, with Lorenzo improving to 7-1 and Jagiello picking up his conference-leading 10th save.