Stonehill’s Offense Stifled In 4-1 Loss To St. Thomas Aquinas

Skyhawks manage just three hits after the first inning

Junior Christian Baglini went 1-for-4 with a double and one RBI in Stonehill's 4-1 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas.

WINTER PARK, Fla. (March 12, 2014) – The Stonehill College baseball team scored in the first inning, but managed just three hits after that point in a 4-1 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas College today in non-conference action at Alfond Stadium on the campus of Rollins College.

St. Thomas Aquinas junior pitcher Matthew Petro (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) earned the win after an impressive start in which he went seven innings and gave up just one run on four hits while striking out five and walking one. Senior Joe Grimaldi (Hawthorne, N.J./Depaul Catholic) replaced Petro in the eighth and allowed one hit before retiring the side, and sophomore Matt Kostalos (Staten Island, N.Y./Moore Catholic) earned the save after pitching a scoreless ninth.

Junior outfielder Rich Baerga (Pomona, N.Y./Pendleton) led the Spartan offense with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, including a single and a double to go with two runs, one RBI, and one walk. Senior infielder Kenny Kirshner (Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y./Cornwall Central) went 2-for-5 with a run, while classmate Stephen Sunday (Scranton, Pa./West Scranton) and juniors Omar Cuevas (Queens, N.Y./Arts and Business) and Derek Hirsch (Melville, N.Y./St. Dominic's) each recorded a hit.

Sophomore Brian Campbell (Franklin, Mass./Mount Saint Charles) and junior Christian Baglini (Milford, Conn./Notre Dame) each went 1-for-4 with a double for the Skyhawks, while Baglini knocked in Stonehill's lone run of the afternoon. Senior Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan), sophomore Chris Callahan (Southington, Conn./Holy Cross), and freshman Eddie Bowler (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) added one single apiece to round out the offense.

Freshman Jeremy Roberts (Reading, Mass./Malden Catholic) took the loss despite a solid outing in which he gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits in 6.2 innings of work. Roberts registered six strikeouts and handed out two walks before being replaced by classmate Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Mass./Lawrence Academy). Solomon pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits to go with two strikeouts.

Senior Billy Karalis recorded a single today, one of Stonehill's five hits.

St. Thomas Aquinas was able to give Petro early run support, as the Spartans scored in their first at-bat of the contest. Baerga doubled with one out in the first inning and advanced to third on a bunt single by Kirshner. After Baerga was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice the next play, Kirshner came around to score the first run of the game on a passed ball.

Stonehill evened the score in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a pair of doubles. Campbell led off the frame with a two-bagger to left center, but the next two Skyhawks grounded out. Baglini followed with a two-out RBI double, but he was stranded at second on another ground out to end the inning.

Neither team got much offense going through the next three innings, as Petro and Roberts kept the game tied at 1-1 through four. The Spartans regained the lead in the fifth inning, as senior outfielder Nick D'Angelo (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt Sinai) led off the frame with a strikeout, but reached base when the ball got away from the catcher. D'Angelo advanced to second on a ground out, and scored on Baerga's second hit of the day, a single up the middle.  Kirshner followed with a double to left to put two runners in scoring position, before preseason East Coast Conference Player of the Year Stanley Susana (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic/Cardinal Hayes) drove in Baerga with a sacrifice fly to put the Spartans up 3-1.

St. Thomas Aquinas tacked on another run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Susana, and Stonehill failed to score in the bottom half of the inning after putting runners on first and second. Grimaldi and Kostalos pitched the final two innings for the Spartans, and did not allow any Skyhawks to get past first base.

Stonehill (7-5, 0-0 NE-10) and St. Thomas Aquinas (3-2, 0-0 ECC) will play again tomorrow for the third and final time this season. Stonehill defeated the Spartans, 7-1, on Saturday before St. Thomas Aquinas responded with its win today. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. at Alfond Stadium. The Spartans will also be in action tonight against host Rollins College.

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