Rugel Leads Stonehill Past St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-3

Senior Armand Rugel improved to 3-0 after going 7.1 innings and giving up three runs in Stonehill's 5-3 win over St. Thomas Aquinas today.

Senior righthander improves to 3-0 this season after striking out four and giving up three runs through 7.1 innings

WINTER PARK, Fla. (March 12, 2015) – Senior righthander Armand Rugel (Middletown, Rhode Island/Middletown) held the St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team to three runs over 7.1 innings of work as Stonehill College posted a 5-3 non-conference victory today at Alfond Stadium on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

Rugel did hand out four walks and allow ten hits to the Spartans, but he also struck out four batters, improving to 3-0 this season in the process. With the game-tying run on third base in the bottom of the eighth inning, senior reliever Steve Pike (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) came on to get a key out, while sophomore Aubrey Solomon (Groton, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) closed the door on St. Thomas Aquinas for his second save of the season.  

Junior outfielder Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) continued his hot hitting out of the leadoff spot, as he went 2-for-5 with a double and a run. Hoyt extended his hitting streak to eight games, and he has recorded a hit in all but one of Stonehill's 15 games this season. Senior shortstop Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) also posted a two-hit effort, going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a run. Senior catcher Eric Schneider (Camarillo, California/St. Bonaventure) and sophomore third baseman Steve Lee (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) chipped in with two hits apiece for the Skyhawks, while senior second baseman Christian Baglini (Milford, Connecticut/Notre Dame High) walked and drove in a run.

St. Thomas Aquinas was led by senior third baseman Stanley Susana (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic/Cardinal Hayes) and freshman designated hitter Giovanni Dingcong (Brooklyn, New York/The Beacon School), who recorded two hits each, while senior outfielder Rich Baerga (Pomona, New York/Pendleton) and junior catcher Richard Cesca (Congers, New York/Clarkstown South) combined for three hits and two RBI.

Senior lefty Nick May (Middletown, New York/Burke Catholic) took the loss for the Spartans despite turning in a solid effort, as he struck out six and gave up just three runs (two earned) on six hits through five innings.

After a scoreless first, each team put a run on the board in the second inning. Fratus led off for the Skyhawks with a walk, before moving up to second on a single by Lee and advancing to third on a wild pitch. Fratus came in to score the first run of the game on an RBI groundout by Schneider, but the Spartans answered in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Cesca.

Junior Chris Hoyt went 2-for-5 with a double and a run against the Spartans, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

Stonehill was unable to capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity in the fourth, but the Skyhawks plated two runs in the fifth to go up 3-1. After consecutive singles by sophomore outfielder Ben Monte (New Haven, Connecticut/Guilford) and Hoyt, Monte came in to score on an infield single by Baglini. Later in the inning, Hoyt stole third and then scored on a throwing error by Cesca.

Hoyt gave the Skyhawks a 4-1 lead with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, but St. Thomas Aquinas got the run right back in the bottom half of the inning on a Stonehill error.

Still trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Spartans pulled to within one run and nearly tied the contest. Redshirt freshman outfielder Juan Adorno (Brooklyn, New York/Beacon) worked a one out walk and stole second base, before scoring on an RBI triple to right center field off the bat Baerga. With the game-tying run 90 feet away and just one out, Pike came on and got Cesca to ground into a fielder's choice, as Baerga was retired at home attempting to score. Solomon took over for Pike and induced an inning-ending groundout, sending the game to the ninth inning.

Stonehill would add an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as Fratus recorded an RBI double, scoring junior Brian Campbell (Franklin, Massachusetts/Mount Saint Charles) to give the Skyhawks a two-run cushion.

The Spartans had another opportunity to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth, as they loaded the bases on two singles and a hit by pitch, but Solomon struck out pinch-hitter Omar Cuevas (Queens, New York/Arts and Business) to end the game.

Stonehill (10-4-1, 0-0 NE-10) will cap its 12-game spring break trip with contests against the University of Bridgeport tomorrow (2 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m.). St. Thomas Aquinas (3-3-1, 0-0 ECC) is back in action on Saturday with a doubleheader against Saint Anselm College.

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