The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team completed a four-game weekend sweep with a 8-2 East Coast Conference victory over Bridgeport at Harbor Yard. The Spartans, who retained their #3 East ranking in this week's NCBWA poll, have now won six straight and 15-of-17, improving to 27-12 overall and 11-4 in the ECC. Bridgeport now stands at 15-20, 9-9 on the season. Since starting the season with a 9-9 record, STAC has been the hottest team in the region, reeling off an impressive 17-3 record.
Just hours after the Spartans completed a double-header sweep at home on Sunday, the series shifted to Connecticut for the season series finale. Bridgeport won the first meeting, on April 15, but STAC rallied back to take all four, with Monday's noon start necessitated by Saturday's rainout.
Freshman Vincent Timpanelli, in just his second conference start of the season, led the charge with a 4-for-4 performance, while Anthony Morris allowed just one unearned run in 6.2 innings to improve his record to a conference-best 6-0 overall.
STAC jumped on top in the 2nd when Greg Dawber, who had a pair of game-winning RBIs over the weekend, opened the scoring with a sac fly. Timpanelli made the tally 2-0 with a two-out run-scoring single to left. In the 3rd, Juan Adorno stroked a two-out double and the Purple Knights' third error of the game brought him in to make the score 3-0.
A Spartan error led to an unearned run in the home 3rd, trimming the gap to 3-1, but the visitors tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the 6th. Dawber started the rally with a leadoff single and scored on Mike Morgan's one-out double. With the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Giovanni Dingcong came through with a sacrifice fly to open the margin to 5-1.
Bridgeport threatened in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings, leaving a runner in scoring position in each, but only converted on Casey Oulette's sac fly in the 8th off reliever Scott Hannon, giving the Spartans room to break the game open with three in the 9th.
With two out and nobody on, STAC rallied with the help of another UB error, capped by Morgan's two-run single. Bridgeport put a pair on with two out in the 9th, but Brian Helft came from the pen to quell the potential rally.
Morris scattered just three hits to earn the win, and Morgan joined Timpanelli's stellar offensive day with a pair of hits and three RBI.
The first-place Spartans' Magic Number to clinch an ECC Tournament berth is down to three, with five more conference games scheduled for this week. On Tuesday, Queens visits PCU Park for a 3:30 pm start, with Molloy paying a visit for a 3:30 pm double-header on Friday. That series will then shift to Long Island to conclude with a Saturday twin-bill.