The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team has been ranked #6 in the nation in a preseason poll released by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association. In addition, a trio of Spartans were named as Preseason All-Americans by the NCBWA, with Giovanni Dingcong earning Second Team honors as an outfielder, and Joseph Pena and Frankie Moscatiello taking Honorable Mention at shortstop and starting pitcher, respectively.
STAC returns the majority of the team that finished 44-17 a year ago, winning the East Coast Conference regular season championship, the NCAA East Regional Championship, and winning their first two games at the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship before taking third place among the national finalists.
Earlier this off-season, the Spartans received several other accolades, including prediction of a first place finish in the ECC coaches poll, and a #3 national ranking from Collegiate Baseball. Dingcong (.302 avg, 20 HR, 52 RBI), Pena (.378 avg, 24 SB) and Moscatiello (9-2, 2.00 ERA) all earned conference First-Team honors, with Moscatiello being tapped as the loop's Pitcher of the Year. Head Coach Scott Muscat will return for his 18th season at the helm, having earned conference Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time.
The Spartan Preseason Dinner will toss out the first pitch on the new season on February 17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Suffern, with former Major League player and pitching coach Rick Peterson serving as the keynote speaker. The Spartans start their 2018 campaign on Friday, February 23, taking on Indiana University (PA) in Dinwiddie, Virginia, the first of a trio of season-opening southern trips. In addition to formidable regional foes like Southern New Hampshire, STAC will play a full slate of ECC opponents, including defending Tournament Champ LIU Post, rival Molloy College, University of Bridgeport, and conference newcomer New York Institute of Technology.