The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team belted out 17 hits to cruise to a 16-7 non-conference victory over Dominican College at Palisades Credit Union Park. The Spartans, ranked #3 in the East in this week's NCBWA poll, have won five straight, 11-of-12, and 23-of-27 overall to improve to 32-13 overall, with Dominican dropping to 17-25.
Dominican scratched out a 1st inning singe when Jayson Gray chopped a single into left, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a grounder. Starter Alex Mack kept the Chargers off the board for the next three innings, giving his offense ample time to provide run support.
STAC required just three batters to take the lead when Joey Pena led off the home first with a walk and stole second. Pena crossed to third on Nick Lucchese's grounder, sliding in under the tag and putting two men on after the fielder's choice. Bobby Morse followed with a booming two-run triple to center, and scored on Anthony Shkrelja's grounder to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
Pena tacked on a run with a solo homer in the 2nd, and STAC strung together five hits to push across four runs and open the game up in the 3rd. Giovanni Dingcong and Greg Dawber each brought in runs with singles, and Chris Ruiz drove in two more as the hosts opened an 8-1 gap.
Five more runs in the bottom of the 4th all but put the game out of reach, with Greg Dawber's two-run hit capping the rally, as his team opened 13-1 chasm. Mack was undeterred by allowing a pair of unearned runs in the 5th, and his six strong innings of four-hit ball were enough to claim the win. In all, 26 different Spartans participated in the game, with Pena's 4-for-4 day leading the charge.
The Spartans are right back in action on Wednesday, hosting LIU Post for a big East Coast Conference showdown at Palisades Credit Union Park. STAC enters the 3:30 contest in first place in the standings, one game ahead of the Pioneers, with the season series standing at 2-2 entering Wednesday's finale. Both teams will finish the season with four-game weekend sets, with STAC taking on Mercy while Post squares off with Molloy.