POMONA, N.Y. (Mar. 26, 2018) – The Queens College baseball team Knights lost a difficult doubeleheader against Saint Thomas Aquinas on Monday (Mar. 26), falling in a 2-1 opening contest at PCU Park in Pomona, N.Y. before succumbing to an 8-6 heartbreak in the nightcap.
Queens falls to 7-10 on the year and 1-3 in ECC play while STAC improves to 15-7 overall and 3-1 in conference competition.
Game One: Saint Thomas Aquinas 2, Queens (NY) 1
STAC stole the opening game on a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning by Giovanni Dingcong off of QC starter Brandon Hoskins. The Knights were up 1-0 after scoring in the top of the first thanks to a Kevin Kolesar lead-off double which was followed by the red-shirt senior scoring on a wild pitch.
The contest, however, belonged to Hoskins and his opposite in Spartans hurler Chris Cepeda. Both pitchers went the distance in a herculean, toe-to-toe effort with Hoskins' lone miscue providing the difference in the final frame. Cepeda and Hoskins allowed four hits apiece; Hoskins walked one and struck out four while Cepeda issued a lone free pass and sent down nine batters by way of strikeout. Hoskins, at one point, sent down 15 straight batters he faced until the ninth inning as Joey Pena smacked a one-out single and came around to score on Dingcong's two-out, two-run shot over the left-field wall on a 1-2 pitch.
Game Two: STAC 8, QC 6
In sharp contrast to the first game, STAC was first out of the gate as Dingcong---summoning the adrenaline from his game-winning home run in the opening affair---launched a two-run blast off of Dylan Hughes to put the Spartans into an early lead. Hughes allowed a bases-loaded walk in the top of the second inning to give Saint Thomas Aquinas a 3-0 advantage but Queens backed up their pitcher with a four-run second inning on starter Anthony Shkrelja. Eric Roubal got the party started with a two-run homer of his own and back-to-back RBI singles from Kolesar and Andrew Navarez brought the Knights ahead by a run after two innings of play. In the bottom of the third, Matthew Stepnoski belted a two-run big fly to left field to add to QC's lead and make the score 6-3. STAC scored twice in the top of the fourth to chase Hughes from the game, but Dylan Sabia nixed the rally and stranded two Spartans base-runners in scoring position.
The Spartans brought the tying run to third base again in the fifth inning, but Sabia sent down Michael Morgan by way of a strikeout to end the frame. In the sixth, the freshman starter for Queens ran into some more hot water with runners at first and second and only one out for the dangerous Dingcong; Sabia was able to retire the batter on a fly out but the Spartans were able to load the bases with two outs in the inning. Bobby Morse saw three pitches for STAC in his final at-bat of the night and they were all strikes as Sabia once again flirted with danger but survived unscathed.
Unfortunately, the Spartans finally broke through in the seventh inning. A pinch-hit bloop single to right field by Juan Adorno brought the game to a 6-all tie with runners on the corners and STAC's lead-off hitter---a near-.500 average slugger in Pena---to the dish. With Pena at the plate, however, the Spartans took the lead on the base-paths as pinch runner Jonathan Meaney took advantage of a pick-off maneuver to steal home and give STAC a 7-6 lead. The Spartans grabbed an insurance run in the inning and despite back-to-back singles from Anthony Scotti and Temenak, the Knights failed to tie the score and fell to the agony of the Spartans' consecutive comebacks.
All nine starters had a hit for Queens in the nightcap, with Roubal and Stepnoski both accruing two RBIs in the loss. The Knights return to Palisades Credit Union Park on Tuesday (Mar. 27) for a 7 p.m. match-up with Dominican (N.Y.) in Pomona.