The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team completed a four-game weekend sweep with a 10-4 East Coast Conference victory at Molloy College on Sunday. The first-place Spartans improve to 28-9 overall and 14-2 in the ECC, with Molloy slipping to 23-13, 15-5. STAC and Molloy have each clinched slots in the four-team field for the upcoming ECC Baseball Tournament.
Molloy starter CJ Schlidt couldn't find the plate, hitting Joseph Pena and Nicholas Lucchese with pitches and walking Giovanni Dingcong and Anthony Shkrelja to force in a run and bring his day to a rapid close. Reliever Chris Murphy allowed a sac fly to Juan Adorno and an RBI single to Bobby Morse, and STAC was off to a 3-0 lead. One inning later, Anthony Maisano tripled and scored on a Pena grounder as the margin swelled to 4-0.
In the fourth, Morse led off with a double and Maisano followed with a two-run homer to open a 6-0 gap, and Spartan starter Tyler Patane was strong in allowing just one run over his first five innings, giving the visitors a 6-1 cushion. Maisano kept up his outstanding day with a sixth-inning RBI single, and Lucchese drove in two more with a hit to extend the edge to 9-1.
That was the same score by which the host Lions trailed in Friday's series opener before scoring seven ninth-inning runs to fall just one run short. They put up two in the bottom of the sixth against a tiring Patane, but this time STAC was able to avoid a dramatic finish as relievers John Rodriguez, Michael Valdes and Christian Allegretti combined to allow just one run on two hits over the final 3.2 innings. Maisano finished the day at 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored, helping Patane improve to 2-0 on the season. Bobby Morse also added a three-hit outing, while Schildt fell to 1-3 with the loss.
The Spartans return to Palisades Credit Union Park on Tuesday, April 24, hosting West Chester University for a non-conference game that represents two of last years three finalists in the NCAA Division II Tournament, with WCU claiming the national title. Game time is 6:00 pm, then STAC returns to ECC play with a four-game weekend series against Mercy, playing a home double on Saturday around single contests at Mercy on Friday and Sunday.