The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team closed out the regular season with a 7-1 East Coast Conference loss to the University of Bridgeport at Harbor Yard. While the Spartans had already clinched the top seed in the upcoming ECC Tournament, the game had great significance for Bridgeport, which locked down the final tourney berth with the win. STAC enters the post-season at 35-13, 16-8, with the Purple Knights improving to 24-20-1, 13-11.
STAC's first game in the conference tourney on Thursday will present a rematch of these teams, with #1 STAC squaring off with #4 Bridgeport in Tournament Game 2 at 3:00 pm at Dowling. The winner of that game will play at noon on Friday, while the loser will face elimination in the 9:00 am contest. #2 Dowling and #3 Molloy will open things up at noon on Thursday.
Jose Perralta earned his first start of the season and retired the first five batters before running into two-out trouble in the second. Justin Carey capped that rally with an RBI single, and the Purple Knights added two in the fourth and four in the fifth to build a big cushion. Alec Janotta's triple was the big blow in the fourth, while the Spartans hurt themselves with an error leading to three unearned runs in the fifth inning uprising.
Frankie Moscatiello worked 3.2 innings of strong relief and the Spartans avoided their second shutout of the season as John De Angelis' grounder plated Brandon Fischer in the ninth. De Angelis had two of STAC's eight hits, but a motivated Bridgeport squad played a strong game which included several defensive gems.
The Spartans enter the tourney ranked #3 in the region after winning their third regular-season championship in five seasons (2012, 2013), and in search of their fourth straight tournament title. STAC and Bridgeport split their season series, while the Spartans took three-of-four from both Molloy and Dowling.
- Steve Balsan, St. Thomas Aquinas Sports Information
- Photo by Dorice Arden