The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team took a pair on Saturday in Cary, North Carolina, defeating the College of Saint Rose by an 11-3 margin before downing Dominican by a score of 9-1. The Spartans, ranked #12 in this week's NCBWA national poll and #1 in the East, have now won three straight and are 3-1 in their trip to the USA National Baseball Training Complex and stand at 9-3 overall. Saint Rose dropped to 7-5 with the loss in the opener, while Dominican remained winless on the season at 0-11.
STAC's bats struggled early against Saint Rose, as the Golden Knights put up single runs in the 2nd and 4th innings to take a 2-0 lead. Mark Shkrelja was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Angelo Baez followed with a game-tying single in the home 4th, and Juan Adorno doubled in Giovanni Dingcong to put the Spartans on top for the first time one inning later.
After Saint Rose tied the score in the top of the 6th, STAC took the lead for good when Joey Pena tripled in one run and came in to score on a Dingcong double to make the tally 5-3. STAC broke the game open with a six-run 7th, keyed by a three-run Dingcong homer. Chris Cepeda scattered five hits and three runs over 6.1 innings of work to improve to 1-1, with Dingcong contributing three hits and four RBI for the game.
Game two started with the Spartans scoring early and often to complete the successful. STAC loaded the bases with none out as Pena started the game with a double, Nicholas Lucchese walked and Dingcong was hit by a pitch. Juan Adorno brought in the first run on a fielder's choice, Tyler Patane doubled in two more, and Vincent Timpanelli singled in another to stake the Spartans to a 4-0 lead. Dingcong tripled in Lucchese in the 2nd inning, and the Spartans tacked on two each over the next two innings.
Pena singled in a run in the 3rd and Lucchesi brought in another with a sac fly to open a 7-0 gap, and Mark Shkrelja's two RBI single the following inning provided mmore than enough insurance for STAC. Anthony Shkrelja allowed three hits over five strong shutout innings, the first of five Spartans pitchers who combined for a four-hitter, allowing Dominican only a single 9th-inning tally. Pena, Timpanelli, and Mark Shkrelja rapped out two hits each on the 10-hit attack for St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Spartans close out their trip to Cary with a game against Claflin on Saturday at noon.