DINWIDDIE, Va. – The Philadelphia University baseball team opened its 2017 season with a 10-0 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Dinwiddie Challenge Friday afternoon.
Philadelphia pounded out nine hits during the contest, led by first baseman Steven Wells (Yardley, Pa./The Hun School) who was 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks. Left fielder Michael Melendez (Lansdale, Pa./Christopher Dock) added a pair of singles in four at-bats.
The Rams had chances to put runs on the board during the first four innings, but the Spartan outfield came up to two big plays to keep the game scoreless.
In the first inning, designated hitter Brandon Quaranta (Poughkeepsie, N.Y/Arlington) started to put together a two-out rally with a base hit to left field. After Wells worked a walk to advance Quaranta 90 feet, Melendez ripped a single to right-center field. Quaranta rounded third in an attempt to give Philadelphia the early led, but he would be thrown out at home by right fielder Giovanni Dingcong to end the inning.
Wells kicked off the fourth inning with a lead-off double and made his way to third when Melendez followed him up with a single. Shortstop David McTaggart (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth) came up next and lifted a fly ball to left that would be caught by Mark Shkrejia. Wells tug up and broke for home. Shkrejia's throw beat Wells to the plate to complete the double play and end the Philadelphia threat.
Dingcong snapped the scoreless deadlock in the fifth inning with a one-out solo home run to center field. It was the Spartans' first hit since a lead-off double in the first inning.
One inning later, St. Thomas Aquinas padded its lead thanks to a Bobby Morse two-run single to left-center with one away to make the score 3-0. The Spartans added two more runs in the seventh on a Deven Del Priore two-run single and five runs in the eighth.
In his first collegiate appearance single April 18, 2015, Abraham Almonte (Danbury, Conn./Danbury) gave the Rams a solid 5 1-3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, and striking out five Spartans. St. Thomas Aquinas' Anthony Morris scattered seven hits and fanned two over five innings to earn the win.
Joseph Pena had two of the Spartans' nine hits.
Philadelphia gets right back to work with a doubleheader against East Stroudsburg University on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m.