The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team won it's opening contest at the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament East Regionial, taking an 8-3 triumph over #7 Wilmington. The Spartans will now play in the Winner's Bracket Friday night at 7:00 pm. The Spartans are now 37-13 on the seasons and will play #3 seed LeMoyne, which defeated #6 Merrimack by a 3-2 score.
Frankie Moscatiello drew the start for the Spartans and locked horns with Wilmington's Brad Scull and a pitchers' duel shaped up early, with only Nicholas Lucchese's run-scoring single in the second giving STAC a 1-0 edge heading into the bottom of the fifth. All-time STAC hits leader Joseph Pena was the catalyst yet again, leading off with a triple and making the tally 2-0 on Anthony Shkrelja's single two batters later.
One inning later, Michael Morgan laced a triple to bring home Cris Ruiz, and Morgan proceeded to score on a wild pitch, bringing Scull's day to an end with the ECC champs holding a 4-0 advantage. Moscatiello scattered just four hits through six innings but the Wildcats got on the board with Christian Adorno's two out solo homer in the top of the seventh.
STAC answered with double the power in the bottom half, with Giovanni Dingcong and Shkrelja cracking back-to-back homers, and Ruiz tacking on an RBI single to open a commanding 7-1 lead. After putting on the first two runners in the eighth, Moscatiello yielded for Christian Allegretti, and Wilmington tacked on two runs but Reyan Mustafoski came out of the STAC bullpen to close out the triumph.
Ruiz and Dingcong had three hits each in the 14-hit barrage, and Moscatiello improved to 9-2 with the win, while Scull fell to 9-3 with the loss. Wilmington slipped to 34-20 overall and will take on Merrimack in the first elimination game of the regional on Friday at 11:00 am.
The victor of Friday night's STAC-LeMoyne tilt (tournament Game 6) will remain in the Winner's Bracket and play on Saturday night at 7:00 pm against the winner of Game 5 between New Haven and Southern New Hampshire, while the loser of STAC-LeMoyne will play an elimination game against Franklin Pierce on Saturday at 3:00 pm.
2018 NCAA Division II East Region Championship
Thursday, May 17
Game 1: #3 Le Moyne 3, #6 Merrimack 2
Game 2: #2 St. Thomas Aquinas 8, #7 Wilmington 3
Game 3: #4 Southern New Hampshire 7, #5 Franklin Pierce 2
Friday, May 18
Game 4: Merrimack vs. Wilmington - 11:00 am (loser is eliminated)
Game 5: #1 New Haven vs. Southern New Hampshire - 3:00 pm
Game 6: Le Moyne vs. St. Thomas Aquinas - 7:00 pm
Saturday, May 20
Game 7: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Loser - 11:00 am
Game 8: Game 6 Loser vs. Franklin Pierce - 3:00 pm (loser is eliminated)
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner - 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 21
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner - 12:00 pm (loser is eliminated)
Game 11: Game 10 Winner vs. Game 9 Loser - 4:00 pm (loser is eliminated)
Monday, May 22
Game 12: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner - 12:00 pm
Game 13: Game 12 Winner vs. Game 12 Loser - 4:00 pm (if necessary)