Rider University 13, Fairfield University 1
LAWRENCEVILLE-The Broncs defeated Fairfield in the first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the season Friday. "It was a tough ball game," said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "It was 1-1 for six, seven innings. We played solid defense, we pitched well and got some clutch hits."
Rider (12-9, 1-0 MAAC) has now won its last four games.
Rider senior Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched eight innings, seven of them perfect. "I felt awesome today," said Smith, who gave up one run on three hits, all in the fourth inning, while striking out five without a walk to improve to 4-2. "I had a good fastball going today and the splitter was off and on. It was good for most of the game."
"Tyler was phenomenal," Davis said. "We faced three batters over the minimum today."
With two hits, Wayman is now 15th in career hits at Rider with 189.
Rider senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) had two RBI on two hits and sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) also had two RBI. Freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) had three of Rider's 15 hits and sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) had two.
The Broncs broke open a 1-1 game with eight runs in the seventh inning on seven hits, the biggest hit a three-run double by Crescenzo. Thomas' RBI single gave Rider a 2-1 lead. "We put some hits together and that's how you win games like this," Davis said.
The Broncs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Lindsay.
Fairfield (7-12, 1-3 MAAC) tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on three singles. "Looking back I seem to not be able to hold it down once we score," said Smith, who leads the conference in strikeouts (39 Ks in 42 innings) and leads Rider in earned run average (1.29). "Anytime we score a run they always seem to get one off me."
Smith, a former Preseason All-American closer who has pitched in more Rider games than anyone (89, old record was 76), is now 8-6 since becoming a starter last April. "He's been good," Davis said of Smith. "He keeps us in the game, he throws strikes. He's one of the best pitchers in the conference."
Smith kept Rider in the 1-1 game until the Broncs sent 23 batters to the plate in the seventh and eighth innings. "We battled through seven innings but then we put up an eight-spot, that always helps." Smith said.
The second and third games of the series will be played Saturday beginning at 12 noon. "It's huge to win the first game," Smith said. "You get the momentum from the start and if we win the first game tomorrow we've already won the series and we're in position to sweep."
Saturday's doubleheader will be broadcast on the radio on 107.7 The Bronc FM and at GoBroncs.com.