The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team took a pair in Cary, North Carolina, running up a 16-4 victory over Dominican College before taking a 5-2 victory over Slippery Rock University. The Spartans took three of four at the weekend Division II Challenge at the USA National Baseball Center and have now won three in a row, improving to 6-4 on the season.
STAC came out swinging, taking a 1-0 lead on Anthony Shkrelja's two out homer in the bottom of the first. They tacked on four in the 2nd, with Anthony Maisano's triple bringing in a pair, Joey Pena following with an RBI single, and Mark Shkrelja scoring Pena with a double, making the lead 5-0.
Chris Ruiz led off the home 4th with a homer, opening the floodgates on an 11-run Spartan uprising, putting the result out of doubt. Later in that inning, Ruiz knocked in a pair with a double, and Anthony Shkrelja drove in three with a pair of hits to key the onslaught.
With more than enough support in his pocket, starter John Bednarek carried a shutout into the 5th before yielding a pair of runs, more than enough to earn his first win of the season. Maisano and A. Shkrelja had three hits in the 14-hit attack.
Dingcong got the Spartans started strong in the nightcap against Slippery Rock, with a first-inning RBI single, part of a 2-0 STAC lead after one. Slippery Rock cut the deficit in half on a pair of hits against Chris Cepeda, but that was all Slippery Rock was to score over seven innings of three-hit work.
An unearned run in the top of the 4th and two in the 5th, punctuated by a Mark Shkrelja triple, brother Anthony's run-scoring single, and an RBI triple for Mike Morgan, opened a 5-1 cushion for the Spartans. SRU staged a rally attempt in the final frame but George Navadel came on to lock down the save, his first of the season, with Cepeda earning the win.
Due to this week's impending storms on the East Coast, Tuesday's scheduled game against Catawba has been moved to Sunday at 4:00 pm, with the scheduled double-header against Mars Hill remaining on Monday's schedule at this time.