The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of #17 ranked West Chester University at Palisades Credit Union park. The Spartans saw their winning streak snapped at nine games to fall to 21-11 overall, with WCU improving to 18-6 with the win.
After topping #20 Felician on Tuesday, STAC came in looking for its second straight win over a top-20 team in just over 24 hours. Both starters struggled in the first two frames, with Spartan hurler Anthony Shkrelja walking two straight in the 2nd and facing the possibility of an early exit.
He settled in from there, however, striking out the next two batters to start a string of 12 straight, with the right-hander carrying a no-hitter through six. Shkrelja finally yielded a line single to leadoff batter Shane Dressler and issued a walk before giving way to reliever Chad Sinko in the 7th. The Golden Rams would load the bases with none out, only to see Sinko escape trouble on the strength of a 1-2-3 double play.
Meanwhile, a trio of Golden Rams pitchers - Tim Edwards, Michael Dietz, and Joe Kinee - combined to also keep the hosts off the board as the game remained scoreless heading into the 8th. Fielding became the difference in the visiting half, as the Spartans made a trio of errors and West Chester took full advantage, plating three runs, with two being unearned.
STAC's offense, so prolific during the recent tear that saw the squad win 12-of-13 games overall, continued to struggle against the WCU staff, with Josh McClain working the final two frames to earn the save in a five-hitter, with Kinee picking up the win. Scott Hannon, in part victimized by his own throwing error which plated the game's first two runs, was tagged with the loss, despite Joey Pena's three-hit night.
The Spartans are back in East Coast Conference action on Saturday, traveling to play a single game at the University of Bridgeport. The return home on Monday, April 17, as Adelphi University visits Palisades Credit Union Park for a 3:30 pm first pitch.