RINDGE, N.H. – Third-seeded Southern New Hampshire University staved off elimination in the 2015 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship East Regional with a 6-3 win over St. Thomas Aquinas College Wednesday afternoon at Pappas Field. The Penmen improve to 31-13 and will face top-ranked and top-seeded Franklin Pierce University in a 6:30 elimination game, while the Spartans, who defeated the Ravens in Thursday's first round, face the loser of tonight's Stonehill College-Wilmington (Del.) University tilt.
Alejandro Diaz (Old Bridge, N.J.) finished 3-5 at the plate for the Penmen, while Derek Bauer (Millis, Mass.), Lorenzo Papa (Stoneham, Mass.) and Tyler Fortanascio (Oradell, N.J.) each had two hits. Carson Helms (Farmington, Conn.) belted a solo home run in the sixth inning.
SNHU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Manny Cruz (Wolcott, Conn.) worked a one-out walk and after stealing second, scored on a single by Mike Montville (Portsmouth, N.H.). The Penmen made it 2-0 in the fourth when Fortanascio singled with two outs and came home on a double by Ryan Gendron (Nashua, N.H.).
Southern New Hampshire broke the game open with three runs in the fifth to make it 5-0. A Papa single scored Montville, who reached on a one-out walk, while a two-run single by Fortanascio up the middle brought home Diaz and Bauer. Helms home run with one out in the sixth closed out the SNHU scoring.
St. Thomas Aquinas plated three runs in the eighth, two of them coming on a double by Stanley Susana.
Alex Person (Foxboro, Mass.) improved to 8-1 on the mound, working the first eight innings and allowing six hits and three runs while fanning seven and walking one. He retired the first 10 Spartan batters before Susana singled with one out in the fourth. Stephen Fortuna (Metuchen, N.J.) struck out two in the ninth to earn the save.
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