Tough 8th Inning Costs Spartans in 8-7 Loss at Mercy

Tough 8th Inning Costs Spartans in 8-7 Loss at Mercy

The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team was victimized by a 7-run eighth inning, leading to an 8-7 defeat in an East Coast Conference game at Queens College. The Spartans settled for a split of the weekend series, dropping to 18-24 overall and 10-14 in ECC play, while Queens improved to 24-18-1, 13-11. Entering the season's final regular-season weekend, STAC retains a chance of qualifying for the ECC Tournament, but they need a sweep in their final series against NYIT combined with positive results in several other match-ups.

Tyler Patane's first-inning, two-run single put the Spartans on top, and an error led to a third-inning run as STAC gained a 3-1 lead. Aaron Dona made the biggest start of his freshman year count, yielding just one run on four hits in 4.1 innings of work before giving way to Scott Hannon, who was outstanding in striking out five batters in 2.1 innings of one-hit relief.

Kyle Lagrutta's RBI single in the seventh made the score 4-1, and the visitors appeared to put the game away with three in the eighth, paced by Jared Vanderhoof's run-scoring single and Jon Cepeda's two-RBI hit, opening a 7-1 gap. That would not last as the Knights touched three pitchers for six hits while STAC contributed a pair of errors, contributing to a seven-run explosion to put the hosts on top. Eric Roubal singled home the tying run while Ron Linsalato came up big with two outs to knock in the game-winner.

The regular season concludes with a four-game weekend series against New York Institute of Technology, with road contests on Long Island on Friday and Sunday, and the season finale twin-bill at Palisades Credit Union Park starting at noon on Saturday. As the final home games, Saturday's double-header will be preceded by Senior Day festivities.