The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team suffered its first setback at the East Regional, dropping a 12-8 decision to top-seeded host Franklin Pierce University. The Spartans now stand at 37-16 on the year with FPU improving to 47-6 and advancing directly to Monday's final. STAC returns to action in tournament Game 11 Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm, facing the winner of Game 10 between Southern New Hampshire and Bridgeport.
Franklin Pierce broke on top with a nine-run first inning barrage, but the Spartans refused to quit, plating two in the eighth and three in the ninth before falling short. Deven Del Priore, Brandon Fischer, and Jonathan McGugan had three hits each for STAC.
Spartans starter John Bednarek, in his first outing in nearly two weeks, was unable to find the groove early and the hosts took full advantage. Pierce converted four hits, a STAC error, two hit batters, and two walks to end the left-hander's night after just 10 batters, with the Ravens holding a 6-0 lead. Scott Hannon entered the game and was touched for a three-run double by NE-10 Player of the Year Jay Jabs, opening up a 9-0 chasm.
Fischer converted an RBI single to get the Spartans on the board in the third, and homered in the fifth as the Spartan bullpen kept FPU at bay though still trailing, 9-2. Pierce tacked on a run in the sixth, but STAC answered with a McGugan homer in the seventh to make the score 10-3.
Giovanni Dingcong doubled in a run in the visiting eighth and Rich Cesca, Jr. added a sac fly, giving the Spartans hope at 10-5, but Kyle Hood's two-run double in the bottom half added more breathing room at 12-5. STAC staged a frantic two-out rally with Del Priore driving in a pair of runs with a single, and Nick Gargan plating another with a double, but that was as close as the Spartans were to get.
Anthony Matarazzo turned in a solid 5.1 innings of work, allowing two runs to improve to a perfect 11-0 on the season, with Bednarek falling to 5-2 with the loss.
- Steve Balsan, St. Thomas Aquinas Sports Information
Thursday, May 19
Game 1: (4) Felician 3, (5) Bridgeport 0
Game 2: (7) Dowling 4, (2) Southern New Hampshire 0
Friday, May 20
Game 3: (3) St. Thomas Aquinas 5, vs. (6) Molloy 2 -- box score
Game 4: Southern NH 11, Molloy 5 (Molloy eliminated)
Game 5: (1) Franklin Pierce 18, Felician 0
Game 6: St. Thomas Aquinas 4, Dowling 0 -- box score
Saturday, May 21
Game 7: Southern NH (1L) 20, Felician (2L) 5 (Felician eliminated)
Game 8: Bridgeport (1L) 7, Dowling (2L) 6 (Dowling eliminated)
Game 9: Franklin Pierce (0L) 12, St. Thomas Aquinas (1L) 8
Sunday, May 22
Game 10: Bridgeport (1L) vs. Southern NH (1L) -- Noon (loser eliminated)
Game 11: Game 10 Winner (1L) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (1L) -- 3:30 p.m. (loser eliminated)
Monday, May 23
Game 12: Franklin Pierce (0L) vs. Game 11 Winner (1L) -- Noon
Game 13: Game 12 rematch* -- 40 minutes after conclusion of Game 12
* Game 13 only necessary if Game 11 Winner wins Game 12.