College Baseball-MAAC Tournament
Canisius College 10, Rider University 3
TROY, NY-Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was famous for saying "It's a beautiful day for a ball game, let's play two."
The Rider Broncs hope they get to play two on Saturday.
The Broncs fell Friday night to the second seed, Canisius, in the winners' bracket of the four-team, double elimination Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship Tournament, hosted by Siena College at Joe Bruno Stadium.
"We didn't do a lot of things tonight," said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
Rider will now play Saturday at 2pm in an elimination game against Manhattan. The winner would then have to defeat Canisius twice, Saturday night at 6 and again Sunday afternoon at 1pm.
In 1989, Rider won the first game of the East Coast Conference tournament, lost the second, and came back to win three straight for the title the trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Rider (22-33), the fourth seed and 2010 MAAC champion, committed four errors and compiled just three hits. "We didn't field the ball tonight," Davis said. "Bats come and go but your defense has to be there."
Canisius (33-25), the second seed, scored three runs in the third inning on two hit batsmen and two doubles, taking a 4-2 lead, and added an unearned run in the fourth for a 5-2 lead.
The Golden Griffins broke the game open in the fifth inning with three runs on four hits and an error to take an 8-2 lead.
The Broncs took a 2-1 lead in the third on a squeeze bunt by sophomore Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South).
Rider tied the score at 1-1 in the second inning on a pair of errors and a pair of walks.
Canisius took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an error, a sacrifice, a stolen base and a ground out.
MAAC Rookie of the Year Devon Stewart pitched eight innings, allowing two earned runs while striking out seven. "He did a great job," Davis said of Stewart. "He battled out of two or three jams."
Sophomore Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie) pitched four and one third innings for the Broncs, allowing six earned runs. "I didn't think Mike pitched badly," Davis said. "He didn't have great stuff but we didn't help him." The MAAC Pitcher of the Year, Murphy left the game trailing 8-2.
Junior Sean Kuberiet (Branchburg/Somerville) struck out the first four batters he faced and finished with a career-high seven strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings of relief. "Sean did a great job," Davis said. "He kept us in the game, gave us a chance to try to come back."
Freshman Eric Strano (Robbinsville) had two RBI for Rider. Strano also had two RBI singles on Thursday in the win over Manhattan.
Junior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) had two of Rider's three hits and now has four hits in the tournament.
Freshman Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) had Rider's third hit Friday and has three hits in the tournament.
Rider needs to play two on Saturday, winning both, to force a Sunday title game.
"We just have to focus on the next game and see what we can do with that," Davis said. "If you look at like you have to win three in a row, it is tough. But we need to play two tomorrow."
The Rider fans can relate to Mr. Cub. "Let's Play Two."