PITTSBURG — It took the defending 5A state champions to hand Pittsburg baseball its first loss of the season.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1-0) pushed across three runs in the top of the second inning and three more in the fifth on the way to a 7-1 win over the Purple Dragons (2-1) Saturday at Jaycee Ballpark.
A pair of PHS errors in the second frame opened the door for the Saints to score the first two runs. St. Thomas Aquinas got an RBI single from Brendan Ryan, who laced a ball past first base with two outs in the inning, to give the Saints a 3-0 advantage.
The Dragons appeared to have gotten on the board in the bottom of the third, only to see a close play at the plate go against them to end the inning.
Ryan struck again in the fourth, singling to center field to bring home Joe Rost to push the lead to four runs.
Pittsburg answered back with run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, after Chase Curtis, who had a one-out double to get into scoring position earlier in the frame, was brought home on an RBI groundout by Jake Webb to make the score 4-1.
Aquinas put the game out of reach in the fifth, touching home for three runs on four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
The first six batters of the inning reached base for the Saints, with Drew Hicks and Rost picking up RBI singles. Ryan picked up his third RBI of the game with a bases-loaded walk to close the scoring for St. Thomas Aquinas.
Pittsburg got the leadoff man on in the last of the fifth and sixth, but a pair of double plays dampened both innings for the Dragon offense.
DRAGONS ON THE MOUND
Webb earned the start and took the loss after allowing four runs, one earned, on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
Dylan White pitched two innings in relief and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks.
Jhalani Long finished off the game for PHS with a scoreless seventh.
DRAGONS AT THE DISH
Elijah Harris had two of the team’s five hits, and had the only stolen base for Pittsburg.
Webb had a hit and an RBI, with Curtis and Trent Austin also picking up hits in the loss.
SAINTS ON THE MOUND
Rost earned the start and the win for Aquinas, pitching four innings of one-run ball. He allowed hour hits and struck out three.
SAINTS AT THE DISH
Ryan led Aquinas with two hits and three RBIs.
Mikey Strong, Bayler Hinz and Rost each had two hits in the win.
Rost scored twice, matching Will Swanson for tops in the game.
PHS baseball hosts Neosho at 4:30 p.m. April 3 at Jaycee Ballpark.
-- Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @LDsportswriter.