The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team swept a pair of East Coast Conference games at Queens College, winning the opener, 12-4, before holding on for a 4-2 win in the nightcap. The Spartans have now won three straight and six of seven overall to improve to 15-10 overall and moved into first place in the ECC with a 6-3 mark. Queens dropped three-of-four in the weekend set, falling to 7-10, 1-4.
Nick Lucchese drove in four runs and Deven Del Priore and Anthony Shkrelja had three hits each as the Spartans scored in six different innings to pull away in the opener. Anthony Morris allowed three unearned runs over eight innings to improve to 4-0 on the season.
STAC grabbed an early lead with an unearned run in the opening inning, and tacked on three more in the 4th on Lucchesi's two-run double and Joey Pena's sac fly. Queens parlayed a pair of errors and a passed ball into three unearned runs in the bottom half, narrowing the gap to 4-3.
Lucchese singled in another run in the 5th and the Spartans tacked on three in the 6th, with Deven Del Priore doubling in a run and Greg Dawber singling in two more to open an 8-3 cushion. Mark Shkrelja singled in two insurance markers in the 7th and that was more than enough for Morris, who scattered five hits while walking just one and fanning five in his eight strong innings.
In a hard-fought second game, Chris Ruiz' two-run double put STAC on top in the 7th, and Joey Pena's RBI single gave STAC a 4-2 lead. With daylight dwindling, Queens put the tying runs on with one out in the home 8th before the game was called due to darkness.
Queens scored a run in the opening frame to grab the lead in the nightcap, with starter Cameron Burt keeping the Spartans off the board until a fielding error allowed the tying run in the 6th. Meanwhile, STAC starter John Bednarek settled in, keeping Queens off the board until the bottom of the 6th, when Joel Mendez led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an error with just one down.
Reliever Chad Sinko notched a big strikeout, but Billy Riches came through with a big single to put the hosts back on top at 2-1. The Knights went to the pen for reliever Yakov Truhkin in the 7th, and STAC put runners in scoring position with just one down. That led to the big RBI hits from Ruiz and Pena, putting the visitors on top to stay. Though Queens did put the potential tying runs on base in the 8th, darkness brought the contest to a close, with the game reverting back to the last full inning, giving STAC a 7-inning victory officially.
The Spartans return to action on Tuesday, April 4, hosting Kutztown University for a 3:30 pm start at Palisades Credit Union Park. STAC travels to face Adelphi on Thursday, plays an ECC contest at Mercy on Saturday, and hosts St. Anselm for a twin-bill at PCU Park on Sunday.