When and Where: May 18, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (Penmen Field)
Score: #3 St. Thomas Aquinas College 8, #6 Southern Connecticut State University 3
Records: STAC 39-15, SCSU 27-15-1
Third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas College homered three times, including once during a four-run sixth, as the Spartans rallied from a 3-0 hole to score eight unanswered runs and topple sixth-seeded Southern Connecticut State University, 8-3, in the NCAA East Regional Championship opener Thursday at Southern New Hampshire University's Penmen Field.
Southern Connecticut jumped on ECC Pitcher of the Year Frankie Moscatiello in the top of the first, taking advantage of an error and a walk, while collecting a pair of hits, to post three runs, including a pair that was unearned.
Control issues then plagued Southern Connecticut starter Cole Bryant to begin the second inning as he issued a leadoff walk to Anthony Shkrelja and then hit a batter to put two on with no one out. Two batters later, Juan Adorno grounded out to plate Shkrelja and cut the deficit to 3-1.
Saint Thomas Aquinas tied it in the fourth as Giovanni Dingcong and Michael Morgan led off the frame with back-to-back solo shots – to left and right, respectively – to even the score, 3-3.
Cris Ruiz put STAC on top for the first time with a one-out solo blast to center in the sixth before Shkrelja's two-run double to left and a sacrifice fly to left by Dingcong widened the Spartans' lead to 7-3.
The Spartans nudged their lead to 8-3 in the seventh on Greg Dawber's sac fly.
Moscatiello (9-1) did not allow a run after the first, going six innings, allowing three runs – one earned – on five hits, striking out three and walking four.
Bryant was charged with four runs on eight hits in five-and-a-third innings, while striking out four and walking five.
Shkrelja finished 2-for-4 with a walk, home run, two RBI and run scored, while Dincong (walk, HR, two RBI, run), Morgan (two walks, home run, RBI, run) and Dawber (walk, RBI) were all 1-for-2. Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk, home run, RBI and run, with Nicholas Lucchese submitting a 2-for-5 day.
Griffin Garabedian led Southern Connecticut with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate. Mike DeMartino went 1-for-3 with a walk. Greg Zullo was 0-for-2, but walked twice and a collected an RBI.
Saint Thomas Aquinas advances to take on the winner of Thursday's second game between the second-seeded University of New Haven and seventh-seeded Dominican (N.Y.) College on Friday at 7 p.m. Southern Connecticut will meet the loser of that game Friday morning at 11 a.m. in an elimination contest.
To stay completely up-to-date with the NCAA East Regional, bookmark the Championship Central page at http://snhupenmen.com/sports/bsb/2016-17/NCAAEastRegional.
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