POMONA, N.Y. (Mar. 25, 2018) - After being shut out in the first game on Sunday (Mar. 25) of a double-dip with Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Queens College baseball team exploded for a ten-run outburst in evening the series with the Spartans and claiming a 10-6 nightcap contest at Palisades Credit Union Park.
Game One: Saint Thomas Aquinas 7, Queens (NY) 0
The Spartans jumped on QC starter Cameron Burt (1-2) with a two-run first inning as Anthony Shkrelja recorded a sacrifice fly and Tyler Patane hit a run-scoring double to give STAC an early edge. Queens was silenced by starter Frankie Moscatiello (3-0) who settled down after a wild top of the first that saw Knights lead-off man Kevin Kolesar get to third base; the ECC Preseason Pitcher of the Year yielded just four hits in a complete-game shutout with six strikeouts. STAC scored three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh against Burt and James McGee to provide the final result.
Kolesar's 13-game hitting streak was snapped in the conference defeat, as the team's four hits came from four players---Anthony Scotti, Louis Antos, Matthew Stepnoski and Eric Roubal. Burt struck out three batters in his four innings of work for the Knights.
Game Two: Queens (NY) 10, Saint Thomas Aquinas 6
As in game one, STAC was the benefactor of a strong first inning thanks to an RBI double from Giovanni Dingcong and a run-scoring single off the bat of Bobby Morse. Dingcong would steal home for the Spartans' third run in the first inning against Dennis Buckstein (2-2) and Saint Thomas Aquinas scored its fourth run of the day on an RBI single by Nicholas Lucchese in the second inning to forge ahead to a 4-0 edge. Queens cut the deficit in half in the top of the third as two Spartans errors led to two runs with only one hit---a single by Ron Linsalato---in the inning. Kolesar, who singled on the first pitch of the game from Jason Salva (1-1) to start a brand-new hitting streak, knocked in the Knights' second run on a sacrifice fly but the damage came in the fifth inning for QC.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Kolesar singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Andrew Navarez ripped a 3-2 pitch into center field to score Kolesar and bring Queens within a run at 4-3. Scotti doubled down the left-field line and Jonathan Temenak drew a walk to load the bases as Antos stepped to the plate. On a 1-2 offering from Salva, the Knights' third baseman went the other way with an opposite-field double down the right-field line to bring home two runs and put the Knights in front 5-4. Patane was brought in to pitch for STAC and his welcoming committee was incredibly rude: Roubal launched a soaring three-run home run to left field as the Knights grabbed an 8-4 lead.
Buckstein pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning before getting the first two outs in the seventh relatively quickly. Following a two-out single, Michael Lamneck was summoned from the bullpen; STAC ended up scoring a run to come within an 8-5 deficit but Lamneck limited the damage to just that one run. Thanks to a Navarez two-run single in the top of the eighth, the Knights were able to comfortably cruise as the Spartans collected a run in the bottom of the eighth but nothing more.
For the Knights, Buckstein recorded a gritty and game-tested six-and-two-thirds innings, striking out five batters while allowing five runs on nine hits and throwing 125 pitches in his strong effort. Kolesar, Navarez and Antos each recorded a pair of hits in the Queens win and the pitching of Buckstein and Lamneck stranded 13 Spartans base-runners in powering the Knights to the win.
Queens is now 7-8 on the year and 1-1 in East Coast Conference play. The Knights will continue the four-game series with STAC (13-7, 1-1 ECC) on Monday (Mar. 26) by hosting the Spartans in a doubleheader at PCU Park in Pomona with the first game set for a 4 p.m. start. It will be a nine-inning contest followed by a seven-inning affair at the home of the Rockland Boulders.