The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team scored 10 unanswered runs to record a 10-2 victory over Mansfield University in the Division II Challenge at the USA National Training Center in Cary, North Carolina. The Spartans snapped their season-opening winless streak to improve to 1-6 overall, while Mansfield fell to its third straight loss, dropping to 1-3.
After tossing a scoreless first inning, starter Tyler Patane ran into some trouble in the second as a Tony Brown double drove in the game's first run and a throwing error plated another, staking the Mountaineers to an early 2-0 lead. STAC wasted little time tying the score with some help from Mansfield, as a pair of errors put runners at first and third with none out. Andrew Jemison cut the deficit in half with a sac fly and Dylan Klock scored on a wild pitch as the Spartans tied the score and never looked back.
Jonathan Meany led off the home third with a single and scored on Michael Morgan's triple and Morgan was brought in when Brian Donnelly reached on an error, making the score 4-2. Patane settled in, not allowing another run through five innings of work, as his team added insurance markers in the bottom half. Meany got the ball rolling again with a leadoff walk, stole second, and scored on a Morgan single. Donnelly followed with another hit and Chris Ruiz reached on an error, bringing in Morgan, and Jemison's sac fly plated Donnelly to open a 7-2 gap through five.
STAC tacked on three more in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Jemison, a Michael D'Andrea sacrifice fly, and a run-scoring single from Angelo Baez. That was more than enough for the Spartan bullpen as Reyan Mustafoski, Dylan Leahy, Justin Baeyans, and Jeffrey Dominguez combined for a dominant final four innings, allowing just one hit while working an inning each. Patane allowed just one earned run on five hits over five solid innings to earn his first win of the year, while starter Timmy Saar started and took the loss for the Mountaineers.
The Spartans' swing in the Tar Heel state continues on Saturday, March 9, in a 6:30 pm start against East Stroudsburg University before playing a pair on Sunday, starting with a 1:00 battle against the University of New Haven before facing Fairmont State in a 5:00 pm start.