Brookhaven, N.Y. - The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team remained alive in the East Coast Conference baseball tournament with a 4-2 win over the University of Bridgeport in Brookhaven. STAC will play the loser of the Molloy-Dowling game at approximately 3:30 pm. The Spartans improve to 31-15 with the victory, while Bridgeport suffered its second straight loss to see its season come to an end with a 17-28-1 record.
St. Thomas Aquinas remains alive in the Loser's Bracket of the ECC Tournament. The winner of Molloy-Dowling will advance to Saturday's action, while the loser will play STAC this afternoon.
Matt Kostalos allowed just two hits over seven strong innings of work to earn the win and CJ Ferriggi nailed down his ninth save, while four players had two hits each for the Spartans.
Both teams entered tournament Game #3 facing elminiation after losses Thursday, Bridgeport by a 14-0 count at the hands of host Dowling, with STAC falling to Molloy in a 6-1 final. The Spartans drew first blood in the opening frame, with Rich Baerga reaching on an error and eventually coming home on a Kenny Kirshner sacrifice fly.
A two-out rally in the top of the 3rd provided STAC's second run, with Derek Hirsch, Kirshner, and Stanley Susana, reaching on consecutive hits before Stephen Sunday reached safely on a fielder's choice to bring in Hirsch. The Purple Knights answered in the home half of the frame, with Casey Oullette walking, advancing to second on a balk, moving to third on a wild pitch, and scoring on a Jesse Solar infield single.
STAC continued to tack on, adding solo runs in the 5th and 6th innings. Hirsch drew a one out walk in the 5th and stole second, eventually coming home on an RBI single from Susana to make the score 3-1. The Spartans once again utilized a two-out rally in the 6th, with Ferriggi and Rich Baerga stroking singles followed by a walk to Deven Del Priore. With the bases loaded, Bridgeport starter Dakota Edwards unleashed a wild pitch to put his squad in a 4-1 hole.
Mike Nowak came out of the UB pen to put out the fire and keep the Spartans scoreless the rest of the way, giving his team a chance to threaten in the late innings. Kostolos sailed through six innings of two-hit ball and seemed in control before hitting the wall in the 7th.
Mike Minter reached on a one out error but remained at first with two down. With a 1-2 count on TJ Mangan, Kostolos lost the plate, walking Mangan on the next three pitches before issuing a four-pitch walk to Matt Costleigh, loading the bases. A wild pitch brought home Minter to cut the deficit to 4-2, but the right hander recovered to record his 12th strikeout of the day, fanning Dylan Steigerwald to leave the tying runs in scoring position.
Brian Tompkins came on to work a hitless 8th inning, and Ferriggi sealed the deal by striking out the side in the bottom of the 9th, keeping alive the Spartans' hopes of successfully defending last season's ECC Championship crown while ending Bridgeport's season.
Kostolos improved to 6-1 with the win, while the setback dropped Edwards to 4-5. Baerga, Hirsch, Kirshner and Sunday had two hits each to contribute to the 10-hit St. Thomas Aquinas attack.
Provided by the St. Thomas Aquinas Sports Information Department.