The 2016 season for STAC baseball is underway! This past weekend the Spartans traveled down to Dinwiddie, Virginia to kick off their 2016 season. After coming off a third straight ECC championship and a third straight regional appearance, the Spartans are hungry for a chance to defend their title.
The Spartans opened up against Slippery Rock University in the Dinwiddie Challenge, beating them with a final score of 6-4. Matt Kostolos was called to be the opening day starter, and he did not disappoint. Kostolos went six strong innings, striking out eight while only walking one batter. Offensively, the Spartans were led by two veteran seniors, Nick Gargen and Rich Cesca, both hitting huge home runs in back-to-back innings to give the Spartans the lead. Even with the score going back and forth all game, the Spartans did not quit, and they scored four runs in the final two innings to secure their first win of the season. Chris Pennell pitched two innings out of relief, earning him the win, while George Navadel came in in the ninth and shut the door, earning himself his first save of the year.
On day two of their Virginia trip, the Spartans came across a bit of a speed bump. In the first game of a double header, STAC fell to West Chester University 7-1. The bats did not come alive this game, only scoring one run on four hits. The starting pitcher for the Spartans was Anthony Morris, who pitched a strong six innings, but earned no decision. The Spartans, however, bounced back in their night game of the day/night doubleheader, beating Philadelphia University 5-2. John Bednerek was on the bump for the Spartans. After allowing two runs in the first inning, Bednarek was dominant, tossing five scoreless innings and earning himself his first win of the season. The Spartan offense was led by Pena and Cesca, who had three hits each, and also by Joe Signore, who had a big RBI single in the third inning to give the Spartans the lead. Navadel came in again in the ninth inning and earned his second consecutive save.
In the final game of the Dinwiddie Challenge, the Spartans took on Shepard University. The Spartans exploded offensively by putting together eight runs on twelve hits. Spartan offense was led by Gargen, Cesca, and Dingcong, all blasting home runs to help lift them to an 8-7 victory over Shepard.
The St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans finished off the trip going 3-1, a very good start to the 2016 season. The Spartans traveled back to Sparkill, New York, but will soon depart down south again as they travel to North Carolina this upcoming weekend for more warm-weather baseball.