No. 19 Baseball Drops Matchup Of Regional Powers

Ronnie Grant homered and drove in three runs in an Apr. 11, 2017, loss at STAC. (Dave Schofield).
Ronnie Grant homered and drove in three runs in an Apr. 11, 2017, loss at STAC. (Dave Schofield).

POMONA, N.Y. – St. Thomas Aquinas College overcame late deficits of 7-4 and 8-7 to earn a 10-inning, 9-8 non-conference baseball victory over visiting Felician University on Tuesday afternoon at Palisades Credit Union Park. The game featured four lead changes.

St. Thomas Aquinas (21-11) is ranked No. 4 in the most recent NCAA Division II East Region writers' poll. Felician entered the contest ranked second regionally and 19th nationally by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assocation.

Both teams played and managed the game like the pivotal regional match-up that it was. The Spartans used 21 players in the contest. Felician, meanwhile, employed 10 pitchers, including four in the bottom of the 10th inning alone. The contest lasted three hours, 48 minutes.

The Golden Falcons (20-8) turned a one-run shortfall into a 7-4 edge by scoring four times in the top of the seventh. Andrew LaMura (Brick, N.J.) laced a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run double, and Brennan Price (Middlesex, N.J.) followed with a two-run single up the middle. LaMura's hit allowed him to become the seventh member of Felican's 100-RBI club.

But STAC needed just one hit to even the score with three runs in the home half of the seventh. A double-error on a potential double-play grounder put runners on first and third with one out, and set up Giovanni Dingcong (Daly City, Calif.) for an RBI single. A walk loaded the bases, and following a strikeout, a walk and hit batsman brought the Spartans to 7-7. Felican used four pitchers in the inning, replacing two mid-batter.

The Golden Falcons answered almost immediately. Lefty-swinging Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.J.) led off the eighth with an opposite field triple, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Ronnie Grant (Burlington, N.J.). Grant wound up on third base after his fly ball was dropped, but Felician could not bring him home.

That development proved costly when Dincong began the bottom of the ninth with a long home run, tying the game at 8-8. Felician reliever Dan Naif (Jackson, N.J.) escaped further trouble, and the game moved into extra frames.

STAC junior Joseph Pena (Brooklyn, N.Y.) singled to start the 10th, moved up on a groundout, and stole third base. Following an intentional walk, Felician turned to hard-throwing Price, who entered from his designated hitter spot. But Mark Shkrelja (Bedford Hils, N.Y.) managed to chop a grounder to third on a 1-and-2 count. Pena got a good jump off of third, and Felician was unable to make a play on him as he scored the winning run.

Junior Frankie Moscatiello (Rocky Point, N.Y.(4-1), the sixth Spartan pitcher, tossed a scoreless top of the 10th to earn the victory. Dincong finished 4 for 5 with three RBI, and Anthony Shkrelja (Bedford Hills, N.Y.) went 2 for 4 and scored three runs. Felician's Grant was 3 for 4 with a home run, double and three RBI, while Diesel (double, triple) and Matt Kleinstein (Marlboro, N.J.) had two hits each.