The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team rapped out 19 hits to capture a 17-5 victory over LIU Post in a showdown for first place in the East Coast Conference. The Spartans have scored 63 runs in winning their last six straight games, including 33 over a span of two days, with STAC improving to 33-13 overall and 16-5 in the ECC. Post, which entered the day a game behind, fell to 24-17, 14-7.
With their victory, the Spartans now not only have a two-game lead on the Pioneers, but STAC also claims a potential tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-2 season series edge. That leaves the Magic Number to clinch the regular season championship at just two with four games to play.
Greg Dawber drove in five runs and Juan Adorno recorded four hits to lead the onslaught, while Anthony Shkrelja allowed two earned runs in six innings of work to pick up the victory. STAC held a 6-3 lead before breaking the contest open with an eight-run 5th inning.
Post pushed across an unearned run in the 1st but their momentum ended there, as STAC answered with four in the 2nd. Mike Morgan doubled in the tying run and Dawber brought around two more with a single before Nick Lucchese added an RBI hit to close the rally. The Pioneers drew close with two in the 3rd, keyed by Anthony Vaglica's RBI single, to draw within 4-3.
The Spartans tacked on solo runs in each of the next two frames with Morgan singling home another in the 3rd, and Joey Pena hitting a triple in the 4th and coming in on a Lucchese single to make the tally 6-3. Dawber and Chris Ruiz each singled home runs in the 5th to make the score 8-3, and Shkrelja left with that lead after six solid innings.
Any hope the visitors had for a comeback were ended in the home 6th, when the Spartans pushed across eight runs on just four hits, aided by a pair of Post errors. Dawber singled in two more, and STAC took full advantage of Pioneer miscues as Shkrelja helped his own cause with a two-RBI double of his own, helping to open a 16-3 chasm, and the Spartan reserves held the fort from there.
Important Schedule Note - Due to impending rain on Friday, the scheduled game against Mercy will now be played on Thursday night at 8:00 pm at Palisades Credit Union Park. Saturday's double-header at Mercy and Sunday's regular-season finale at 2:00 currently remain as scheduled.