Rindge, N.H. - The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team stormed to an 8-0 victory over Stonehill College in an elimination game at the NCAA Division II East Regional in Rindge, New Hampshire. STAC now plays Wilmington University at 10:00 tonight. The Spartans rebounded from last night's loss to Southern New Hampshire to improve to 2-1 in the tourney and 29-18-1 overall, with Stonehill being eliminated to finish at 34-15-1.
Nick May went the distance for the Spartans' second shutout of the tournament, fanning 11 batters and walking five in the five-hitter. Nick Gargan recorded three hits in the 11-hit outburst, with Stanley Susana adding three RBIs.
Stonehill becomes the second team to be eliminated, joining Dowling, which fell to Franklin Pierce yesterday. Wilmington is the only undefeated team remaining, with Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire squaring off in an elimination game starting at 6:30.
If the Spartans lose to Wilmington, they are eliminated. If they win, they will play one game at 5:00 Sunday for the East Region Championship against the winner of the day's 1:00 game.
After working just two innings and suffering the loss 24 hours earlier, durable lefty Nick May returned the mound, as well as top form on Saturday. May worked out of minor trouble in the first two innings, and his teammates did the rest.
Nick Gargan started a two-out rally in the home second when Skyhawks starter Neal Horan suddenly lost the plate, walking Deven Del Priore, Jon McGuagan, and Joe Pena in succession. East Coast Conference Player of the Year Stanley Susana made the wildness pay, turning on an 0-2 pitch for a two-run single to left for the first runs of the game.
May settled into a groove, allowing just a bunt single over the next three frames but it good a stellar defensive play to avoid trouble in that inning. With first and third and one down, Christian Baglini's liner toward the hole was snagged by Pena at second, with a quick throw to first converting the inning-ending double-play.
Having dodged the bullet, the Spartans jumped on Horan in the fifth. With one down, Nick Gargan singled and Giovanni Dingcong doubled, the second hit of the day for each. Christian Santo was issued an intentionally walk, which backfired when Fisher followed with a free pass to force in a run and extend the lead to 3-0.
Jeremy Roberts entered in relief and induced Rich Baerga into an RBI fielder's choice before uncorking a wild pitch, bringing Santo in for a 5-0 lead. McGugan scored another in the sixth after leading off with a single and coming in on Susana's double. Del Priore and McGugan drove in runs in the seventh, providing more than enough insurance for STAC's senior hurler.
Stonehill scratched out just three hits over the final seven innings and five on the day, as May shook off yesterday's loss to improve to 7-2 on the season, while Horan fell to 4-4. Susana, Dingcong and McGugan each had two hits, as five different Stonehill players recorded singles for the Skyhawks' lone offense.
Provided by the St. Thomas Aquinas Sports Information Department.