The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team battled to an East Coast Conference twin-bill sweep over the University of Bridgeport, winning the opener, 6-3 before taking the nightcap, 1-0. The Spartans have now won 11-of-12 games overall and nine straight in ECC play, improving to 24-8, 10-1, with Bridgeport slipping to 4-28, 1-10.
In the opener, STAC shook off allowing three unearned runs to rally for the win, scoring all six runs in their final four turns at bat. Game two was a classic pitchers duel, with Scott Moscatiello tossing a one-hitter, Anthony Shkrelja's bat providing the lone run, and Giovanni Dingcong making a game-saving catch.
Tyler Patane drew the game one start and was victimized by some uncharacteristic poor defense behind him, as three errors led to two Purple Knights runs in the top of the second. STAC struggled with UB starter Jason Burger, going hitless through four innings before breaking through in the fifth. With two out and none on, Michael Morgan recorded the Spartans first hit, a clean single up the middle. Bobby Morse and Angelo Baez followed with singles, bringing home Morgan to cut the margin to 2-1. Joseph Pena then beat out an infield hit, scoring Moore to tie the game.
Bridgeport answered quickly with a run in the sixth thanks to another STAC miscue, but the game was again deadlocked in the bottom half when Giovanni Dingcong stole home as part of a double-steal with Cris Ruiz. The hosts finally grabbed their first lead of the day in the seventh when Bobby Morse singled and scored on a Pena triple, and Dingcong added an insurance marker with an RBI double.
Michael Morgan's RBI double in the eighth capped the scoring, with Chris Pennell improving to 4-1 with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief before Angelo Baez kept UB off the board for the final two to earn his fifth save of the season. Pena, Dingcong, Morgan and Morse each recorded two hits in the 10-hit attack, with Burger absorbing the loss to fall to 1-2.
Game two settled into a showdown between three-time ECC Pitcher of the Week Moscatiello and Bridgeport's Anthony Martino. Neither team recorded a hit until Kyle Lagrutta's line single to left in the home third. The Purple Knights were retired quickly in the top of the fourth and the bottom half looked to be taking the same path when, with two out and nobody on, Anthony Shkrelja drilled Martino's first pitch deep into the power alley in left-center, reaching the bleachers for his sixth homer of the season.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Mark Komaromi's grounder through the box skipped into center field for a clean single, spoiling Moscatiello's no-hit bid. Patrick Palmer followed by grounding into a double-play, and the slim lead held up into the seventh and final inning, though the drama was far from over.
Logan Allen led off the inning and was the fifth strikeout of the day for Moscatello, and Tom Rinaldi followed with a fly out to right. With Bridgeport down to its final out, Mark Hirschbeck took the first offering deep to right field for what looked to be the game-tying home run, but Dingcong took a good angle to the Short Porch fence and his jumping catch sealed the victory.
Giovanni Dingcong Robs Bridgeport's Mark Hirschbeck of a Game-Tying Home Run
Moscatello, who was dominant despite struggling with his control at times, walked three batters and improved to 6-0 overall, lowering his league-leading ERA to 0.72. Martino took the loss despite his stellar effort, dropping to 0-7 on the season in a fast-paced game that required just 1:23 to complete.
The Spartans look to complete the four-game sweep when the series shifts back to Harbor Yard in Bridgeport for a noon start on Sunday. They will then be off until next weekend's ECC showdown with rival Molloy College, with St. Thomas Aquinas hosting the middle two games at 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 21.