The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team won four of five games last week to improve to 32-10 overall and remain among the top ranked squads in the country. Included in last week's total was a victory over defending National Champion West Chester University and winning 3-of-4 in East Coast Conference play against Mercy College. That improved the Spartans' conference to 17-3 and set the state for a big regular-season ending showdown this weekend.
In national rankings released Monday by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, STAC slipped three spots to come in at #29 overall. Wednesday's release by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association had St. Thomas Aquinas falling two slots two #24 - two places below West Chester, whom the Spartans swept in a pair of head-to-head meetings this season.
Wednesday's official NCAA Regional Rankings had STAC retaining its hold on the #3 position, trailing LeMoyne and New Haven, who switched places at the top of this week's chart. The official rankings will be used to fill out the 56-team field for the NCAA Division II Championship, with the East having seven bids this season. Three of those will be awarded automatically to the tournament champions of the ECC, Northeast-10, and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, with the next four being offered on an at-large basis. The Spartans are seeking their sixth straight NCAA Tourney appearance, having won the East Region Championship in 2014 and 2017.
Before that becomes an issue, however, the Spartans wrap up the regular season with a big four-game weekend ECC series against LIU Post. Both teams have already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, but the Spartans need one win in the series to take the regular-season championship and top seed. For the past six seasons, St. Thomas Aquinas has won either the regular-season championship, tournament championship, or both, taking the regular-season crown in 2012, '13, '16, and 17, and taking home the tourney title in 2013, '14, and '15.
The Spartans host LIU Post on Friday, May 4, in a 3:30 pm start at Palisades Credit Union Park. The series then shifts to Long Island for a noon double-header at Post on Saturday, before wrapping up at Palisades Credit Union Park on Sunday. The 2:00 pm start will be preceded by Senior Day ceremonies, with St. Thomas Aquinas also celebrating Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day.