The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team captured a double-header sweep in East Coast Conference action against New York Institute of Technology, winning 18-2 and 7-1. The Spartans have now won seven straight overall and five-in-a-row in conference play to improve to 20-7, 6-1, marking the 11th straight season STAC has recorded 20 wins or more. NYIT has now dropped the first three games of the four-game series, falling to 5-15-1, 2-9.
After Saturday's scheduled double-header at NYIT was postponed, those games were shifted to a Sunday twin-bill at Palisades Credit Union Park with STAC batting as the visiting team, the second time this season that has occurred. The Spartans wasted no time in setting the tone in game one, commencing an onslaught that continued throughout the afternoon.
Nicholas Lucchese opened the game with a walk off Bears starter Alex Passarella, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Giovanni Dingcong's single. That touched off a rally that saw 14 Spartans come to the plate, pushing across nine runs on seven hits. Mark Shkrelja, Cris Ruiz and Bobby Morse contributed consecutive RBI singles, Pena drove in two more with a double, and Dingcong's two RBI single brought Passarella's day to an end after registering just two outs.
Anthony Maisano's second-inning sac fly brought another run home and Lucchese's fielder's choice RBI made the score 11-0. Tyler Patatne allowed just one run in four solid innings and the bullpen cruised with five relievers combining to allow one unearned run the rest of the way. Maisano added an RBI single in a two-run fifth, and Vincent Timpanelli's two-run single was part of a five-run outburst in the seventh. Dingcong and Morse slashed four hits each in STAC's 21-hit barrage. Patane was credited with the win in his first decision of the season.
With ace Frankie Moscatiello on the bump in the nightcap, the Spartans again jumped to a first-inning lead when Lucchese and Pena opened the game with singles and Lucchese scored from third when Pena was caught in a rundown. In the third inning, Dingcong brought in Lucchese with a double, and Anthony Shkrelja knocked in that runner with a single to make the score 3-0.
STAC added an unearned run in the fourth, and Mark Shkrelja broke the game open with a three-run homer in the fifth, which was more than enough for Moscatiello. NYIT did record a difficult accomplishment, as Joey Fusco's two out single in the bottom of the fifth plated Zach Kleinwaks, marking the first earned run allowed by the ECC's preseason Pitcher of the Year in a span of over 28 shutout innings. The right-hander gave way after six strong frames, allowing five hits and striking out nine while walking two, with his league-leading ERA now standing at 0.84.
The first-ever series between the two programs wraps up on Monday back at Palisades Credit Union Park in a 4:00 pm start. They then host Dominican College in a non-conference game on Tuesday before returning to ECC action with a four-game weekend set against the University of Bridgeport.