Yocum Earns First Collegiate Win as Rider Thumps Rutgers

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: March 21, 2017
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Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)
PISCATAWAY, NJ – Freshman pitcher John Yocum (Easton, PA/Freedom) tossed six-plus innings and allowed just two earned runs as the Rider University baseball team defeated in-state rival Rutgers, 7-2, on Tuesday afternoon at Bainton Field. The Broncs (7-10) snapped a three-game skid with the victory, while the Scarlet Knights (6-14) dropped their fifth in a row.

After allowing a run in the first inning, Yocum settled down and would hold to Rutgers offensive attack at bay. He went 6.2 innings and scattered seven hits, while striking out seven hitters for the second start in a row. The six-foot hurler picked up the first win of his collegiate career to move 1-2 on the spring in four starts.

Rider erased its one-run deficit and knotted the contest one apiece courtesy of an RBI single to left by sophomore Riley Mihalik (Churchville, PA/Chestnut Hill Academy) in the third. Following a scoreless frame from Yocum, the Broncs would take a lead they would not surrender in the fourth thanks to a two-run double to left center by Jake Bender (Ellicott City, MD/Marriotts Ridge).

The guests weren’t done as Rider would tack on one run in the sixth and two in the seventh before adding one final insurance run in the top of the eighth.

Offensively, Rider had a season-high 16 hits thanks to three Broncs recording three-hit games. Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial), Tyler Kaiser (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) and Mike Volaski (Oxnard, CA/Ventura CC/Oxnard) all registered three hits apiece. Johnson went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases and two runs scored from the leadoff spot, Kaiser was 3-for-4 with a run scored and Volaski went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored.

Bender also had a quality day at the dish, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

In relief of Yocum the bullpen was solid with three pitchers combining to toss 2.2 innings of no-hit, scoreless relief. Josh Sharik (Ewing, NJ/Plumstead Christian School) came on in the seventh and worked one inning, Mike Diorio (Middletown, NJ/Middletown HS South) got two outs for the Broncs and Andrew Tumbelty (Westampton, NJ/Rancocas Valley) closed things out in the ninth. Tumbelty worked a perfect ninth and struck out two Scarlet Knights.  

“We played well today,” Rider Head Coach Barry Davis said. "We had clutch hitting and good starting pitching. Yocum did a great job. Our bullpen handled the rest. It was a good win."

- Bender’s two-run double in the fourth was his fourth two-bagger of 2017. The hit snapped an 0-for-9 skid for him at the plate. It was his second career game with three or more RBIs. He had a career-high five RBIs versus Siena on April 30 of last season. 
- Volaski’s multi-hit game was fourth of the spring. The three-hit game was the second of his career and season. Also, his solo shot in the eighth was his first home run as a Bronc. 
- Johnson’s multi-hit game was his eighth of the season. He now leads the team with 22 hits. It was also his first career three-hit game.  
- In 7.1 innings of work in 2017, Tumbelty has a 0.00 ERA and five strikeouts. He has made seven appearances this season.

- Kaiser’s three-hit game was the second of his career. He also had three hits on April 24 of 2016 against Niagara. 
- The start was the longest of Yocum’s career. He has now gone five-plus innings in back-to-back starts. The seven strikeouts also tied a career-high for Yocum. In his last 12 innings of work, he has struck out 14 batters. 
- The Broncs are now undefeated in the Garden State in 2017 after topping Lafayette at home on February 28. 
- All nine Rider starters had a hit in the game. The 16 hits were also a season-high for the team and the most for the Broncs since they smacked 22 hits in a victory against Siena last April. A season-best three Rider players had three-hit games.
- The win was the 27th in program history for the Broncs against Rutgers. The victory was the second straight for Rider against the Scarlet Knights. 

Rider returns to action on Saturday, March 25, with the start of a three-game conference series against Fairfield. Game one in the series is slated to begin at 12:00 pm as the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday. The series is the first in league play for both the Stags and the Broncs. Last season, Rider took two of three from Fairfield on the road.
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