NCAA Baseball Regional
Rice University 19, Rider University 1
AUSTIN, TEXAS-The 2010 Rider baseball season came to an end with a loss to 17th ranked Rice at the NCAA Austin Regional Saturday. "It was a tough way to end the year," said Rider head coach Barry Davis, "but it was still a positive experience for us, regardless of the score."
For Rider (36-23), junior Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock), senior Eric Woodrow (Hamilton, N.J./Hamilton West), senior Nick Wojnowski (Baldwin, Md./Calvert Hall) and junior A.J. Albee (Ashley, Pa./Hanover Area) collected hits.
"Woodrow has improved every year," Davis said of his starting catcher. "He's a hard worker who maximizes his ability."
"This tournament was bittersweet," said Woodrow, who collected his 91st career hit. "You can't be too upset with the fact that you've made it to a Regional as a senior. Winning the conference tournament to get here is our goal every year. The results here might not show it, but it was a great year for us. The experience was great for all of the guys who come back next year. We have a great group coming back."
"Regardless of what the score was we gave a pretty good effort at the plate," Davis said, "we made some diving catching, turned some double plays, made some nice relays. Our kids never stopped battling."
Wojnowski had an RBI ground out to break the shutout in his final collegiate at bat.
The double by Heyne was his 21st of the season, one shy of the single-season record. Woodrow hit his third double of the season in his final collegiate at bat and Albee hit his 15th double of the season.
"If we played another game or two Albee would be an all-tournament player,"' Davis said. "He's on base a lot, hit a couple of doubles, turned some tough double plays. He's a good, solid player."
"Overall we had a good season," Albee said. "It was a great opportunity to play against great teams like Texas and Rice. I'm glad we were able to get here for the seniors. They are a great group of guys who led us all year."
The Rice Owls (39-22), in the NCAA tournament for the 17th straight year, banged out 22 hits off of six Rider pitchers. "One of the things that got us here (to the NCAA Tournament) was starting pitching," Davis said, "but today we didn't have the pitching we are used to. The good news is that five of the six pitchers we threw today were freshmen. This environment today will certainly help them down the road."
Rice scored five runs in the second inning on four hits and three walks to take a 5-0 lead. The Owls added three more runs in the third on three hits, a walk and a pair of sacrifice flies, taking an 8-0 lead.
"Rice is an outstanding program with a great tradition," Davis said. "We knew they could hit."
Rice added three runs in the fourth inning on three hits, including a two-run home run, to take an 11-0 lead and scored four runs on five hits, including a three-run home run, in the seventh to take a 15-0 lead. Four runs on a pair of two-run homers in the eighth gave Rice a 19-0 lead.
Rider freshman pitcher Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie), making his seventh collegiate start, was knocked out of the game in the third inning, allowing seven runs on five hits and five walks.
Heyne, Albee and Wojnowski also collected hits against Texas in the Regional.
Wojnowski, who graduated May 14, finishes his career with 146 hits, 41st most ever at Rider. 76 of those career hits came this year.
Albee, who set Rider single-season records this year for runs scored (63), RBI (60) and assists (182), hit a double in the sixth inning for his 86th hit of the season, two shy of the Bronc single-season record.
"We felt honored to be here," Davis said. "We've come a long way." Rider was 15-15 on April 14 and below .500 in the MAAC. "We broke the Rider record for wins, had a great ending to the regular season and got sent to probably the toughest Regional of the 16," Davis said. "It gave us a chance to compete against two very good teams. Hopefully this experience will be something we can build on next year."
The Broncs finished the season with 36 wins, the most ever by a Rider team...Rice starter Taylor Wall was pulled with two outs in the fourth inning despite not allowing a base runner...Rice batters walked to lead off the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, and led off the sixth with a single...there were 6,366 fans in attendance for the Rider-Rice game, including almost 50 Rider fans who made the trip to Austin...the 19 runs allowed was a season-high for Rider, the most since allowing 20 runs last season in a loss to Manhattan...freshman closer Tyler Smith pitched in his 31st game of the season. The Rider record for appearances was 23...Brandon Cotten made yet another sensational diving catch in centerfield, his second of the tournament...Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon hit three home runs to give him 26 for the season and compiled seven RBI...Albee's double was the 30th of his career.