The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team had a split double-header in Cary, North Carolina, losing the opener to Findlay by an 8-7 count before bouncing back to defeat regional rival Franklin Pierce. The Spartans, ranked #12 in this week's NCBWA national poll and #1 in the East Region now stand at 7-3 overall, while Findlay improved to 4-3 and FPU - ranked #4 in the region - dropped to 6-3-1.
STAC jumped on top early against Findlay with a pair in the top of the 1st, when Vincent Timpanelli singled home Joseph Pena and Juan Adorno. Findlay plated a run in the 2nd but Nick Lucchesi doubled in two more and scored on a passed ball in the 4th to open a 5-1 lead. Timpanelli drove in another with a 5th inning sac fly and Pena doubled in another in the following inning, the Oilers drove in another in the home 6th before staging a big rally in the 7th.
A pair of Spartans errors combined with a pair of walks and a hit batter to open the door to four unearned runs, as Josh Schwerer's two run double gave Findlay a lead that the bullpen would preserve over the final two innings. Despite the setback, Pena continued his hot hitting, going 4-for-4, with Timpanelli driving in three runs. Jason Salva had a strong start, settling for a no-decision after yielding just one run on six hits over five solid innings of work.
In their second game of the day, St. Thomas Aquinas again jumped on top early but this time the Spartans were unrelenting. Giovanni Dingcong doubled in Nick Lucchesi and Anthony Shkrelja followed with an RBI single to make the score 2-0 after one inning. Pena continued to act as the catalyst, bringing home Angelo Baez with a 2nd-inning single and scoring on Lucchesi's hit to make the tally 4-0.
Pena singled in another run and Dingcong added an RBI in a three-run 4th to make the commanding lead 7-0. That was ample support for Spartans starter Frankie Moscatiello, who tossed five scoreless frames before allowing a 6th-inning run, scattering just three hits over that span. Dingcong tripled home two more in the 6th and STAC exploded for five more in the 7th to deal the final blow.
With his three hits, Pena rounded out his totals for the day to 7-of-8 from the plate, while Dingcong went 3-for-4 with five RBI against Pierce, while Moscatiello earned his first decision of the season.
The Spartans return to action for another split double at the USA Baseball National Training Center on Saturday, squaring off with Saint Rose and Dominican. They wrap up the weekend against Claflin on Sunday.