University of South Carolina 1, Rider University 0
COLUMBIA, SC-Despite out-hitting the sixth ranked team in the nation, the Broncs lost at South Carolina Sunday afternoon to end the three-game series. "We had opportunities to score, we just weren't able to do it," said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
Making his first collegiate start, freshman Brian Donnelly (Churchville, PA/Council Rock South) collected three of Rider's 11 hits. "He got his first start against a pitcher who is about as good as they come (Nolan Belcher) and it didn't bother him," Davis said. "He handled the bat and made a nice play in left field. He did everything we asked of him."
Donnelly also stole a base and had four put outs in left field. In four games Donnelly has four hits in six at bats.
Rider junior Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie) pitched seven and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out four. "Murph pitched great," Davis said. "He handled the game and kept the leadoff guy off base. He only walked two guys and when they hit it to us we caught it."
Sophomore catcher Eric Strano (Robbinsville) had two hits for Rider (6-4). "Eric has been playing great," Davis said of his second-year catcher. "He's doing a heck of a job for us."
Junior Ken Kremer (Hershey, PA/Hershey), senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial), sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South), junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South), junior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) and senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) also collected hits for Rider. Mulderig doubled.
Senior pitcher Sean Kuberiet (Branchburg/Somerville) recorded the final out, retiring the only batter he faced.
The Gamecocks (13-2) hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning for the only run of the game. "Murph got a fastball a little up and he got contact on it," Davis said.
Rider was in all three games at SC, losing 2-0 and 9-5 the last two days. "We played three games against a national championship-caliber club and had opportunities to win all three games," Davis said. "We were able to come down here in this atmosphere (7,000+ fans) and compete and we handled ourselves well. Hopefully we can build on it and win a couple of games next weekend."
Rider plays again March 15-17 in Wilson, North Carolina, facing Saint Bonaventure in a four-game neutral site series