The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team suffered a double-header sweep at the hands of the University of Bridgeport in an East Coast Conference set at Palisades Credit Union Park. STAC drops to 9-10 overall and 1-2 in conference play, with UB improving to 5-14, 2-1.
In game one, Bridgeport tallied single runs in each of the first two innings as Ryan Donnelly led off the game with a triple and scored on Joey Grillo's grounder to open the scoring, and Eamon Catherina singled home another in the second to open a 2-0 edge. Purple Knights starter Jason Burger was cruising into the third inning before Angelo Baez' 14-pitch at bat gave the Spartans life. Baez followed a two-out Andrew Jemison single by working out a lengthy walk, setting Burger on a temporary wild streak as walks to Michael Morgan, Brian Donnelly, and Tyler Patane each drew free passes to push across a pair and tie the score at 2-2.
Spartans starter John Greeley stranded five Bridgeport runners over the next two innings but the visitors did take the lead in the fifth when Donnelly led off with a double and came in on an RBI single by Grillo to make the score 3-2. Burger settled in after the tough third, retiring eight straight batters until his team broke through with insurance in the seventh.
Greeley was one pitch away from again escaping trouble but Cory Listing knocked home a pair with a two-out double and Catherina followed with another, making the score 6-2 and knocking Greeley out of the box. Matt Rodriguez greeted reliever Christian Allegretti with an RBI single to open a 7-2 lead. Baez got one back in the bottom half with a two-out double off reliever Jonathan Brooks but that was as close as the Spartans were to get.
Bridgeport carried the momentum into the second game, as Patrick Palmer's two-run double capped a two-out rally for a quick lead in the visiting first. The Spartans answered in the bottom half as Michael Morgan astutely stole home on a pickoff attempt to first to cut the deficit in half. The Purple Knights opened up breathing room in the second as Ryan Donnelly doubled home a pair in a three-run inning to open a 5-1 gap.
Two more runs in the visiting fourth and three in the sixth made the score 10-1 and the Spartans struggled to solve starter William Jackson, who yielded just four hits through six innings. Andrew Jemison closed out the scoring with a seventh-inning RBI double.
The Spartans have dropped two-of-three in the weekend series and look for the split in tomorrow's finale in Bridgeport at 3:00 pm. STAC then travels to take on Bloomsburg on Tuesday before returning to ECC play with a four-game set against LIU Post starting Friday. The Pioneers will host single games Friday and Sunday, with St. Thomas Aquinas hosting a 1:00 pm double-header on Saturday at Palisades Credit Union Park.