Rider University 3, Canisius College 2
LAWRENCEVILLE-Senior Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) hit an RBI single with one out in the ninth inning to give Rider a come-from-behind Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win over Canisius Sunday. "We haven't had a walk-off win since we beat Manhattan last year and I felt we deserved one of those," said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
With the win Rider (25-15, 12-6 MAAC) wins the series two games to one. This was Rider's sixth MAAC series of the season and the Broncs have won four. "We're very fortunate to win today and very happy to win the series," Davis said. "Canisius is a very good team. That was a big series to win, especially after losing the last two."
Rider tied the score at 2-2 in the fifth inning when senior John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI) singled and after a walk to sophomore Mike O'Reilly (Colts Neck) was sacrificed to third base and scored on a balk. O'Reilly tied the score when he scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley).
Ralston and sophomore pinch hitter Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) walked with one-out in the ninth inning, setting up Galella's game-winner. "Steve put a real good swing on that pitch," Davis said.
"I was just trying to help the team out," said Galella, who now has 193 hits, 12th most ever at Rider, and 123 RBI, 12th most ever among Broncs. "He threw me two sliders for balls so I knew he had to throw me a strike. I looked for a fastball and got it." Galella lined the ball into left field for the game-winning hit. "Lindsay had a great at bat, fouling off a few pitches before getting walked," Galella said. "His at bat motivated me to do something."
Ralston turned two of Rider's three double plays from shortstop, including an outstanding diving effort and flip to second base, robbing Canisius of a pair of runs. "When you only get four hits you have to make plays in the field and we did that today." Davis said.
Canisius (19-23, 7-6 MAAC) took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the first inning and went up 2-0 in the fourth inning on a solo home run.
Sophomore closer Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched the final inning for the win, his third.
Sophomore Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion) pitched one and one-third scoreless innings of relief, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh.
Sophomore Joe Calogero (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill HS West) started and pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing just one earned run.
"All three pitchers did a good job today," Davis said. "Canisius had their opportunities to win and we were able to overcome them. Our pitching and defense kept us in the game."
"We had great performances by our pitchers today," Galella said, "and our defense was great. This was a huge win for us."
Cotten and senior Karl Johnston (Hamilton, N.J./Peddie) also collected hits for Rider.
Rider travels to former ECC-rival Lafayette on Wednesday before hosting Saint Peter's in the final MAAC home series of the season May 7-8. Eight graduating seniors will be honored May 8.
Rider hosts the four-team MAAC Championship Tournament May 26-29 at Mercer County's Waterfront Park.