WINTER PARK, Fla. – A pair of five-run innings and quality relief pitching propelled St. Thomas Aquinas College to a 12-3 win over Bentley University in non-conference college baseball Monday afternoon at Rollins College's Alfond Stadium.
The day started on a promising note for Bentley with junior lefty David Long (Brookfield, Conn./ Brookfield HS) pitching four scoreless innings and the Falcons grabbing a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning.
Senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) led off the fifth with a double to left center. Two batters later, senior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS) doubled to right center, plating Brennan. Later in the inning, freshman first baseman Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) drove in Witkowski with the Falcons' third two-bagger of the inning.
St. Thomas Aquinas (2-1) put together seven innings in the fifth inning to score five times with senior third baseman C.J. Ferriggi (Bellmore, N.Y.) involved in three of the five. His two-run single broke a 2-2 tie and he later scored the Spartans' fifth run. Ferriggi was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI in the game, and has four hits, four RBI and four runs in the first two games of the series.
Bentley, 0-5, came back with a single run in the sixth, pulling within two at 5-3. Sophomore catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) walked, took second on a passed ball, moved to third on a single by senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./ Ludlow HS) and scored on the front end of a double steal.
Two errors in the seventh helped STAC extend its lead to 7-2 and they broke it open with five more runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Senior lefty Eric Cooper (Brooklyn, N.Y.) picked up the win with 3.1 innings of one-hit relief.
St. Thomas Aquinas' 14 hits included three apiece from senior first baseman Kenny Kirshner (Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.) and junior right fielder Rich Baerga (Pomona, N.Y.).
The two teams will wrap up their three-game series with an 11 am game Tuesday at Rollins.