University of South Carolina 2, Rider University 0
COLUMBIA, SC-The Broncs stood toe-to toe with one of the best teams in the nation before losing at South Carolina Friday night. "We stood in there, we hung in there," said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "Tyler had a lot to do with that."
Rider senior pitcher Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) held the sixth ranked Gamecocks (11-2) to one earned run on seven hits, striking out eight in eight innings while walking just one.
"Tyler threw very well," Davis said. "He made good pitches and kept a pretty good team in check for most of the night. He gave us a chance to win and that's all you can ask."
Rider junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South) singled in the second inning for Rider's only hit against four SC pitchers.
"It was a well-pitched game," Davis said "We struck out 10 times they struck out eight,"
SC took a 1-0 lead in the third inning with an unearned run on a single and a two-out throwing error, and took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning with three hits.
"We had chances," Davis said. "We had a runner on third, less than two outs, we had runners on first and second and nobody out. It basically came down to three plays. We committed an error and they scored, we didn't score the runner from third with less than two outs, and we hit into a double play with runners on first and second with nobody out. If those three plays are different, maybe the outcome is different."
Rider sophomore catcher Eric Strano (Robbinsville) had five assists. "Strano did a great job defensively," Davis said. "He threw out three or four guys stealing, trying to advance on balls in the dirt."
The Broncs and Gamecocks had never met in baseball before, but Rider played three games at South Carolina in the 1985 NCAA Regional, including a victory over eighth ranked Old Dominion.
Rider (6-2) plays SC in the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 4pm. "The challenge now is to come back out here tomorrow," Davis said. "They're good."