The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team took a 5-4 decision over the College of Saint Rose on Joey Pena's walk-off homer at Diamond Nation in Flemington, NJ. The Spartans improve to 9-7 on the season, with Saint Rose falling to 1-12.
A pair of errors in the top of the 3rd helped Saint Rose push across a pair of unearned runs against STAC starter Alex Mack, who did not yield a hit through his three innings of work. The Spartans answered quickly, pushing across four in the bottom half off Golden Knights' starter Michael Pastore.
As in the top half, a misplay and a passed ball contributed to the rally, with Anthony Shkrelja and Juan Adorno each singling in a run to make the score 4-2. CSR drew even in the top of the 4th on three hits but STAC avoided further damage when the last out of the frame was gunned down at the plate, leaving the game tied at 4-4.
Michael Valdes, Chad Sinko, and Chris Pennell combined for 4.1 scoreless innings of STAC relief, while Saint Rose's Alex Tomlinson had retired all nine batters faced, entering a dramatic 9th inning.
Spartan closer George Navadel came into the tied game in the top half, and promptly loaded the bases with Golden Knights with nobody out before working out of the jam unscathed. That set the stage for the home 9th, and Pena wasted little time, driving the third pitch of the inning deep to right to send his team home with the victory.
Navadel picked up the win in relief to improve to 1-0, with Tomlinson's first decision of the season coming in the loss column. Pena and Anthony Shkrelja had a pair of hits each to lead the STAC offense.
The Spartans open their East Coast Conference schedule with a big four-game set against red-hot LIU Post. The set starts with a single game on Long Island on Friday, Saturday's "home" STAC twin-bill will now be played at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY, starting at 1:00 on Saturday, and the series wraps up back at Post on Sunday.