Skyhawks and Spartans will square off for the fourth time this season
RINDGE, N.H. (May 16, 2015) – Second-seeded Stonehill College will look to keep its season alive when it faces sixth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas College in an elimination game Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. on day three of the NCAA Baseball Tournament East Regional at Pappas Field on the campus of host Franklin Pierce University. The winner advances to Saturday's 10 p.m. nightcap to take on fourth-seeded Wilmington University.
Admission for each day of the double elimination tournament is $8 for adults, and $5 for senior citizens, children and students with an ID from a participating school. For those unable to make it to Franklin Pierce, live stats will be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (34-14-1, 16-7 NE-10), which defeated fifth-seeded Dowling College 5-2 on Thursday, fell victim to a late rally by Wilmington in a 4-3 loss on Friday night. The Skyhawks are making their third appearance in the NCAA East Regional in program history and first since 2010.
St. Thomas Aquinas (28-18-1, 14-10 ECC), the three-time defending East Coast Conference Tournament champion, is also appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the third time and is looking to capture its second straight East Region title. The Spartans stunned top-seed Franklin Pierce by a 3-0 score in their first round game on Thursday, in the process snapping the Ravens' program-record 27-game winning streak, before dropping a 6-3 decision to third-seeded Southern New Hampshire University on Friday afternoon.
Saturday's elimination game will serve as the fourth meeting this season between Stonehill and St. Thomas Aquinas, as the programs split a three-game series on March 11-12 in Winter Park, Florida. The Spartans posted an 11-7 victory in the first contest, while rain forced the second game to end in a 3-3 tie before the Skyhawks earned a 5-3 win in the finale.
Senior Eric Schneider is batting .432 with three doubles, two triples and ten RBI over his last ten games.
Stonehill will give the ball to senior right-hander Neal Horan (Mashpee, Massachusetts/BC High) Saturday afternoon for his 11th start of the season. Horan is 4-3 with a 2.34 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings, and has racked up 19 punchouts over his last two outings.
Senior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/St. Bonaventure), who went 3-for-4 at the plate in Stonehill's loss to Wilmington on Friday, is leading the Skyhawks with a .432 (16-for-37) batting average over his last ten games. The All-NE-10 second team selection has recorded three doubles, two triples and a team-high ten RBI while scoring eight runs over that span.
Junior outfielder Brian Campbell (Franklin, Massachusetts/Mount Saint Charles Academy) is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with two doubles, four walks and five RBI during the same stretch, while classmate Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) checks in at .326 (14-for-43) with five stolen bases and eight runs scored.
St. Thomas Aquinas will likely turn to sophomore left-hander John Bednarek (Cinnaminson, New Jersey/Cinnaminson), as the Spartans look to extend their season into tomorrow night. Bednarek is 3-3 in 13 appearances and four starts this spring with a 3.79 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.
The Spartan offense is led by the freshman duo of Joseph Pena (Brooklyn, New York/The Perkiomen School) and Giovanni Dingcong (Brooklyn, New York/The Beacon School). Pena owns a team-best .370 (60-for-162) batting average with seven doubles, 17 RBI, 34 walks and 34 runs, while Dingcong is hitting .353 (59-for-167) with 14 doubles, six home runs and 33 RBI.
The East Region champion, which will be crowned on Sunday at Pappas Field, advances to the the NCAA DII Championship, to be held from May 23-30 at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament East Regional – Hosted by Franklin Pierce University
Thursday, May 14
Game 1: (6) St. Thomas Aquinas 3, (1) Franklin Pierce 0
Game 2: (2) Stonehill 5, (5) Dowling 2
Game 3: (4) Wilmington 3, (3) Southern N.H. 2
Friday, May 15
Game 4: (1) Franklin Pierce 1, (5) Dowling 0 (Dowling eliminated)
Game 5: (3) Southern N.H. 6, (6) St. Thomas Aquinas 3
Game 6: (4) Wilmington 4, (2) Stonehill 3
Saturday, May 16
Game 7: (6) St. Thomas Aquinas vs. (2) Stonehill – 3:00 p.m. (Loser eliminated)
Game 8: (1) Franklin Pierce vs. (3) Southern N.H. – 6:30 p.m. (Loser eliminated)
Game 9: (4) Wilmington vs. Game 7 Winner – 10:00 p.m.
If two teams remain after Game 9, the following schedule will be used:
Sunday, May 17
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner – 1:00 p.m.
Game 11: Game 10 rematch* -- 5:00 p.m.
*Game 11 only necessary if Game 8 Winner wins Game 10.
If three teams remain after Game 9, the following schedule will be used:
Sunday, May 17
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 9 Loser – 1:00 p.m.
Game 11: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner – 5:00 p.m.