Long Ball Sparks Spartans to 6-4 Victory over Adelphi

Long Ball Sparks Spartans to 6-4 Victory over Adelphi

The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team, ranked #3 in the East Region, captured a 6-4 victory over Adelphi University at Palisades Credit Union Park. The Spartans, who moved up one slot in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, improved to 22-12 while Adelphi, ranked #10 this week, fell to 19-15.

Starter Anthony Morris worked three scoreless innings and his teammates unloaded the long ball in the home 3rd. Mike Morgan led off by scorching a homer deep into the right field porch, and Bobby Morse followed with a hard double to left off Adelphi's Andrew Sesto. Joey Pena scorched a pair of fouls down the right field line before hitting the next pitch for a towering two-run blast to right, putting the Spartans up, 3-0.

With one out, Giovanni Dingcong kept the fireworks coming, crashing his league-leading 12th homer of the season and the Spartans' third of the inning. That home run also tied a single-season team record for round-trippers, with 16 games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

Adelphi answered in the next frame with a two out rally, started by a bad hop single to Brandon Morse. One single and a walk later, Morris was one pitch from retiring the side when Michael Stack drove an 0-2 offering for a grand slam, tying the game at 4-4.

St. Thomas Aquinas jumped back on top in the 5th, starting with a Pena single off reliever Kieran McLaughlin. After a steal of second, Pena's attempt to return to the base on a pickoff attempt but was blocked by shortstop Stack, and the resulting obstruction call moved the go-ahead run to third. Anthony Maisano's deep fly to left easily scored Pena to make the score 5-4.

Morris settled back in and avoided further damage through the 6th, and the Spartans added an insurance run in the bottom half in similar fashion to the one that put them ahead. Panthers reliever Michael Demarest was greeted by a Greg Dawber single, and a stolen base moved him into scoring position. A balk advanced the runner to third, where he scored on Chris Ruiz' sac fly.

STAC's bullpen was the story from there, with Chad Sinko, Chris Pennell, and George Navadel tossing a scoreless frame each to nail down the win, the Spartans' second in as many games against Adelphi this season. Morris improved to 5-0 with the win and Navadel earned his third save, with McLaughlin taking the loss for AU.

The Spartans' busy week continues at home on Wednesday, as East Stroudsburg visits Palisades Credit Union Park for a 3:30 start. That will be the same start time on Friday, when STAC hosts Bridgeport for the start of a four game East Coast Conference weekend set, shifting to Connecticut for a Saturday double-header before wrapping up back at PCU Park on Sunday.