The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team captured both ends of an East Coast Conference double-header against Lincoln University, taking the opener in dominant 18-2 fashion before taking a 2-1 pitchers duel in the nightcap. The Spartans improve to 13-19 overall, with a 5-9 ECC mark, while Lincoln now stands at 1-26, 0-14.
Originally scheduled as a single game, Friday was switched to a noon double due to inclement weather in Sunday's forecast. STAC jumped on top in the home first on a Michael Morgan RBI double and a sac fly from Kyle Lagrutta, though the Lions scratched out single runs in the second and third to deadlock the contest at 2-2. Starter John Greeley settled in from there and the offense did the rest.
Brian Donnelly's fielder's choice grounder brought in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third, and Angelo Baez singled home another in the fourth to make the tally 4-2. Donnelly doubled home another and Anthony Maisano followed with a two-run homer to left, opening up a 7-2 lead, and STAC put the game away with a five-run sixth, keyed by two-run hits from Andrew Jemison and Jared Vanderhoof.
Greeley held Lincoln at bay through the seventh before yielding to the bullpen, which tossed a scoreless pair in relief. Lagrutta went 4-for-4 with three RBI and Morgan and Jarred Vanderhoof rapped out three hits each in the 23-hit STAC onslaught.
Game two was a very different experience as the Spartans tossed ace Chris Cepeda and needed every strong inning he provided. After a scoreless first, the Lions grabbed their first lead of the day, stringing together a pair of hits and a rare Cepeda walk to take a 1-0 lead. STAC got that run back in the bottom half when Morgan led off with a double, Donnelly was hit by a pitch, and Anthony Maisano singled home the tying run, advancing to second on the throw. Despite having runners at second and third with none out, St. Thomas Aquinas was unable to do any more damage, with the score remaining at 1-1 until the fifth.
With one out, Jemison walked and advanced to third on a Vanderhoof single, coming in with what proved to be the decisive run on a sac fly by Baez. While STAC's offense struggled, Cepeda did the rest, retiring the last eight batters he faced - four via strikeout - to lock down the seven-inning complete-game victory. Cepeda scattered six hits while fanning 12 and walking just one in improving his record to 5-3 on the season.
The teams complete their four-game season series with another double-dip, starting at 1:00 pm Saturday at Palisades Credit Union Park. The Spartans will then be off until starting an ECC series against Mercy College, traveling on Thursday, April 18 and Monday, April 22, and hosting a double-header on Saturday, April 20, at Palisades Credit Union Park.