Preview: #3 Spartans Open East Regional vs. #6 Southern Connecticut on Thursday

Preview: #3 Spartans Open East Regional vs. #6 Southern Connecticut on Thursday

The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team opens the 2017 NCAA Division II Tournament as the #3 seed, facing #6 Southern Connecticut State University in Manchester, NH, on Thursday at 11:00 am. 

Log onto Thursday for extensive coverage of the Spartans, including Live Stats, Live Broadcast Video & Audio. Also join the "Voice of the Spartans", Brad Sarno on Twitter for Spartans Game Day Live, as he covers all the action via social media, LIVE from Penmen Field.

Click Here for NCAA Tournament East Regional Central


The Tournament -  A total of 56 teams will compete for the National Championship at the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament, which starts on Thursday, May 18 and will be hosted by Southern New Hampshire University. Seven teams participate in the East Region double-elimination format tourney, with the Regional Champion advancing to the Elite Eight in Grand Prairie, Texas. East Regional teams and seedings are as follows:

1  Southern New Hampshire University (41-9)

2  Univ of New Haven (29-11)

3  St. Thomas Aquinas (38-15)

4  LIU Post (30-18)

5  Felician University (33-13)

6  Southern Connecticut State Univ. (27-14-1)

7  Dominican College  (21-27)

The Schedule - The Regional opens with Game One at 11:00 am, with STAC facing Southern Connecticut, followed at 3:00 pm by Game Two between Dominican and New Haven, with the day concluding as Felician meets LIU Post in Game Three at 7:00 pm.

The Losers of Games One and Two square off in Game Four at 11:00 am Friday, with the losing team eliminated. The Winners of Games One and Two advance to Game Six, scheduled for 7:00 pm Friday.

St. Thomas Aquinas - The Spartans closed the regular season with 10 straight wins, 16-of-17 overall, and a 28-4 mark over their last 32 contests, proceeding to win its ECC Tournament opener before dropping a pair to LIU Post and Molloy.

STAC had the top four of the top five home run hitters in the ECC this season (Dingcong 15, Ruiz 7, A. Shkrelja 7, Pena 6). They also had the league-leaders in batting average (Pena .402), wins (Morris, Moscatiello 8), ERA (Moscatiello 1.60), RBIs (Dingcong 40), and strikeouts (Moscatiello 83).

This season, the Spartans won their 4th ECC Regular Season Championship in the past six seasons (2012, 2013, 2016); they have captured three ECC Tournament titles (2013, 2014, 2015); and are making their 5th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, winning the East Regional Championship in 2014.

Since the 2013 seasons, the Spartans have a 21-15 overall post-season record (12-6 ECC; and 9-9 NCAAs). That total includes an impressive 14-6 mark in games when facing elimination.

Southern Connecticut - The Owls are making their seventh NCAA Tourney appearance, winning the region in 2005 and 2011. They went 14-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference and 27-14-1 overall, at one point running off eight straight victories and 12-of-13 overall. They were eliminated by Pace in the play-in game in the opening round of the NE-10 Tourney.

Greg Zullo is a player to watch, named as a First Team All-Region selection by the NCBWA (.358 avg, 47 RBI), with outfielder Nick Lamberti earning Second Team honors (.390 avg). Jim Palmer is a threat on the bases with 23 swipes, and Cole Bryant is tied for the conference lead in wins with eight to go with his 2.81 ERA.

The Season Series - This is the first meeting of these teams this season.

Head-to-Head History - This is the first post-season meeting of these squads. Their last regular-season meeting resulted in a double-header split last season, and SCSU has won three of the four all-time contests.

What's Next - The winner of the East Regional advances to the NCAA Elite Eight in Grand Prairie, Texas. Full regional schedule as follows:

Thursday, May 18
Game 1: (3) St. Thomas Aquinas vs. (6) Southern Connecticut -- 11 a.m. Live StatsVideo
Game 2: (2) New Haven vs. (7) Dominican (N.Y.) -- 3 p.m. Live StatsVideo
Game 3: (4) LIU Post vs. (5) Felician -- 7 p.m. Live StatsVideo

Friday, May 19
Game 4: Game 2 Loser vs. Game 1 Loser -- 11 a.m. (loser eliminated) 
Game 5: Game 3 Winner at (1) Southern New Hampshire -- 3 p.m.
Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 1 Winner -- 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 20
Game 7: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Loser -- 11 a.m. (loser eliminated) 
Game 8: Game 6 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser -- 3 p.m. (loser eliminated) 
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner -- 7 p.m. 

Sunday, May 21
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner -- 12 p.m. (loser eliminated) 
Game 11: Game 10 Winner vs. Game 9 Loser -- 3:30 p.m. (loser eliminated) 

Monday, May 22
Game 12: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner -- 12 p.m. Recap | Highlights
Game 13: Game 12 rematch* -- 40 minutes after conclusion of Game 12
* Game 13 only necessary if Game 11 Winner wins Game 12