University of Maryland 6, Rider University 3
COLLEGE PARK, MD— Your mission, Mr. Mulderig, should you decide to accept it, is to take the mound against an ACC team, in front of a half dozen pro scouts, in just your third career start, and also bat cleanup for the Broncs. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck.
Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South), a junior Behavioral Neuroscience major, accepted the mission, and gave Rider a chance to win in a mid-week, non-conference game at the University of Maryland Wednesday.
“I guess that’s a tough assignment,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “The pitching part is probably tougher than the hitting part.”
The Broncs out-hit the Terrapins eight-seven but lost.
Rider’s leading hitter (.381) as a right-fielder who increases the attendance at home games (the addition of six to 12 scouts with their radar guns) when he is scheduled to pitch in relief, Mulderig started the game on the mound and pitched three and a third innings, allowing four hits and a walk with a strikeout. He left the mound with Rider trailing 3-2.
He finished the game as the designated hitter and had four of Rider’s eight hits. “That’s a problem when one guy has half your hits,” Davis said.
Maryland (16-11) scored three runs in the fourth inning on three hits and a hit batsman to take a 5-2 lead. “We had a chance to put the inning away (3-2) but didn’t do it,” Davis said. “That was probably the difference in the game, that two-out, two run hit.”
Batting out of the leadoff spot for the first time, Rider sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) doubled in the top of the first inning and scored on an RBI single by Mulderig to give Rider (13-12) a 1-0 lead. Parsons had two hits on the day.
“Parsons’ on base percentage (.391) is pretty high and he draws walks (team-high 17),” Davis said. “He works the pitcher and is not afraid to take a strike.”
Maryland scored an unearned ‘small-ball’ run in the sixth inning on a bunt single, a sacrifice bunt and an error and a ground out to take a 6-2 lead.
Maryland cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning on a single, a hit batsman, a walk and an RBI ground out, and tied the score at 2-2 in the third inning with a single, two stolen bases and a sacrifice fly.
Rider junior Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose), one of six Bronc pitchers on a ‘Johnny Wholestaff’ day, struck out two of the three batters he faced in relief. “Kyle did a good job,” Davis said, “came in and got two strike outs.”
Rider and the Terps had never met in baseball before.
Rider hosts Canisius in a MAAC doubleheader Saturday at 12 noon, with the third game of the series Sunday at 12 noon. “Big series,” Davis said. “They are traditionally a playoff team so the importance is three-fold; it’s a MAAC series, its home and it’s against a team that in all likelihood is going to be a playoff team this year. We’ve got to find a way to win the series.”
A mission not impossible.