Duff Leads Stonehill Past St. Thomas Aquinas, 3-1

Junior pitcher allows one run in eight innings for third win of season

Senior Billy Karalis went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in Stonehill's 3-1 win over St. Thomas Aquinas today.

WINTER PARK, Fla. (March 13, 2014) – Junior Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) pitched eight innings and allowed just one run to lead Stonehill to a 3-1 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas College today in non-conference action at Alfond Stadium on the campus of Rollins College.

Duff gave up six hits and recorded six strikeouts on the way to his third win of the season. After pitching seven shutout innings against Caldwell College on February 21st and six scoreless frames against St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturday, Duff has now allowed just one run in 21 innings of work this season. Classmate Armand Rugel (Middletown, R.I./Middletown) entered the game in the ninth inning and earned the save.

Senior outfielder Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan) went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, a walk, and one RBI, while sophomore second baseman Chris Hoyt (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs. Classmate Brian Campbell (Franklin, Mass./Mount Saint Charles) added a hit and one run, and junior Christian Baglini (Milford, Conn./Notre Dame) recorded a hit and two RBI.

Senior outfielder Kenny Kirshner (Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y./Cornwall Central) led the Spartan offense with a 2-for-4 effort, while junior Derek Hirsch (Melville, N.Y./St. Dominic's) drove in St. Thomas Aquinas' only run of the day with a single. Classmates Rich Baerga (Pomona, N.Y./Pendleton) and Stanley Susana (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic/Cardinal Hayes) added one hit apiece for the Spartans.

Junior Jim Duff earned his third win of the season today after giving up just one run in eight innings while striking out six.

Freshman Brian Helft (North Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham) took the loss for St. Thomas Aquinas after giving up three runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work. Helft picked up six punchouts before being replaced by redshirt freshman Frank Muraca (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea), who gave up just one hit in 3.2 innings.

Stonehill scored two of its three runs in the contest in the first inning, as Campbell led off the frame with a single. Campbell advanced to third on a single by Hoyt, and Hoyt then stole second to put runners in scoring position with no outs. After a Karalis fly out, Baglini drove in two runs with a single to centerfield to put Stonehill up 2-0.

The Skyhawks added another run in the third inning with the help of a two-out rally. Hoyt started it off with a single to center with two down in the frame, and Karalis delivered an RBI double to left center to give Stonehill a 3-0 advantage.

Duff was in control throughout the contest, only allowing Spartans to reach second base twice, in the first inning and again in the sixth, until he ran into trouble in the ninth. Susana led off the ninth with a single up the middle, then advanced to second as the next batter reached on an error. Hirsch followed with another single up the middle, scoring the Spartans first run of the game. The run was also the first blemish for Duff in 2014. With two runners on base and nobody out, Stonehill brought Rugel in to face senior catcher Stephen Sunday (Scranton, Pa./West Scranton). Sunday's sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position with one out, but Rugel closed the door on the Spartans with back to back strikeouts.

Stonehill (8-5, 0-0 NE-10) will wrap up its ten-game trip in Florida tomorrow with a doubleheader against Mercy College in Fort Pierce. Stonehill is 5-3 on the trip so far, after going 3-2 at the Ripken Experience Northeast Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in late February. St. Thomas Aquinas (3-4, 0-0 ECC) will return to action on Saturday with two games against NE-10 foe Saint Anselm College.

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