St. Bonaventure 2, Rider University 1
WILSON, N.C.--On Saint Patrick's Day, you had to feel good with a pitcher named Murphy throwing for you. Especially when he was the Rider Athlete of the Year last year.
On Sunday, the luck of the Irish did not last all nine innings, however. "Mike deserved better," said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "We didn't get a lot of breaks."
Saint Bonaventure scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the fourth and final game of the series, held at the historic Fleming Stadium. "Have to give them credit," Davis said. "They made some nice plays when they had to."
With the win St. Bonaventure (5-8) draws a split in the series with Rider (8-6).
Rider junior pitcher Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie) kept the Bonnies off the board for eighth innings, but two singles, two Rider errors, a sacrifice bunt and a fielder's choice gave the Bonnies two runs in the final inning.
"He was sharp from the get-go," Davis said of his junior righty. "We just didn't do enough offensively."
The 2012 MAAC Pitcher of the Year, Murphy held the Bonnies to one hit through six innings and two hits through seven frames. For the game he struck out five and allowed five hits.
"In the ninth inning he doesn't give up the two singles if we aren't playing a 'no doubles' defense," Davis said.
In the bottom of the ninth inning a single and a sacrifice bunt got the tying run in scoring position. An RBI single tied the game and an error allowed the runner to advance to second base. On a ground ball to shortstop, the throw went to third base to get the lead runner, but the throw hit the runner in the back and caromed away, allowing the runner to score the game winner.
"We don't make any errors all day and the last two balls put in play we boot," Davis said. "You can't win that way when the score is 1-0."
Rider took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Eric Strano (Robbinsville).
Rider freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) led off the game with a walk, advanced to second on an error and scored on the single by Strano. Strano had two of Rider's seven hits.
Rider junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South) collected eight hits in the four-game series.
The Broncs left eight runners on base. Rider had runners on first and second, nobody out in the seventh and runners on first and third, one out in the eighth, and did not score. "That is when we lost the game, in the seventh and eighth innings, when we left four runners on base," Davis said.
St. Bonaventure competes in the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies were 23-25 last year, 10-14 in the A-10.
Rider will stay in Carolina to take on Campbell Wednesday and Thursday. "Campbell is very good," Davis said. "We're going to have to play better there."