The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team won it's second straight as Brian Donnelly's walkoff homer sparked the Spartans to a 14-12 victory over East Stroudsburg University at the Division II Challenge in Cary, NC. After losing their first six games of the season, the win was the second straight for STAC with both coming on their current trip to the USA National Baseball Training Center.
ESU posted a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the first, but STAC's offense got on track with its best output of the young season. Anthony Maisano drew a bases-loaded walk to get the Spartans on the board in the home second, and Michael Morgan followed with a bases-clearing triple to give his team a 4-2 advantage.
STAC threatened to break the game open in a six-run third inning, with Maisano bringing in three on a bases-loaded double, scoring on another Morgan hit, and adding another on Jonathan Meaney's RBI single to open a 10-2 gap. They added another in the fourth as Angelo Baez stroked a two-out double, bringing in Kyle Lagrutta to open an 11-2 cushion.
That lead was short lived, however, as Brock Kaufman and Mike Sulcoski each parlayed two-RBI hits (of six in the inning), with three walks and a pair of STAC errors for a 10-run uprising and a stunning 12-11 lead through five. Baez, also the team's closer, was brought to the mound for the first time this season in closing out that fifth inning and keeping the Warriors at bay the rest of the way. That gave the Spartans a chance to tie the score in the seventh as Maisano and Morgan combined again, leading off the frame with back-to-back triples to tie the score, though they were unable to get the go-ahead run in from third.
Baez continued to mow down East Stroudsburg batters and Michael Morgan reached on what proved to be a very costly error to lead off the home ninth. Though pinch-hitter Dylan Klock struck out for the first out of the inning, Morgan showed his speed on the baselines, stealing second and third to put the winning run 90 feet away with one out. The infield and outfield playing in proved to be irrelevant, as Donnelly capped the late comeback by crashing his second homer of the year.
Morgan was a dominant 4-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, a triple, five RBI, and four stolen bases to propel St. Thomas Aquinas to the decision. Baez was lights out, allowing just one hit over the final 4.1 innings while striking out five and walking none to pick up the win. CJ Gonzalez was tagged with the loss for ESU.
The Spartans have four games remaining in Cary before heading to Colonial Heights, Virginia for a three-game series against Bloomsburg University. Action continues with a Sunday split double-header, starting with a rematch against New Haven at 1:00 pm before squaring off with Fairmont State with first pitch set for 5:00 pm. STAC will then play Slippery Rock and Franklin Pierce on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, with both slated for an 11:30 am start.