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Rider University 4, Lafayette College 0
EASTON, PA— On Labor Day, hardly anyone works. The first day of May, however, is all about the hard workers.
May Day, an ancient spring festival celebrated on May 1, is associated with the worker’s movement as a day to demonstrate for labor rights.
May 1 is also the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of all workers.
“I think we are a hard working group,” Rider head coach Barry Davis said of his 27-17 Broncs. “The work ethic has always been there. They come to practice ready to go. This is a pretty good team when it comes to that.”
So while others were off dancing the Maypole Dance on Wednesday, the Rider baseball team was hard at work.
With three freshmen and five sophomores in the starting lineup, the Broncs shutout the Leopards at Lafayette Wednesday afternoon. “We had a young lineup today,” Davis said, “but you don’t really think about that this time of year.”
Senior Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion), the second of five Bronc pitchers, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, for the win, improving to 2-0. “All of our pitchers threw well today,” Davis said. “When you only walk one guy and don’t make any errors you are going to be tough to beat.”
Taylor came in and struck out the side in a three-up-three-down fifth inning. “He was pretty good,” Davis said. “He threw strikes.”
The five Rider pitchers held Lafayette (9-38) to five singles while striking out 11.
Rider sophomore David Hafer (Pine Grove, PA) started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out four. “Hafer was good,” Davis said, “considering he hadn’t started a game all year. He pitched well, even got out of a jam.”
Hafer has pitched 19 innings this year in 16 games and has yet to allow an earned run. “I guess that’s a good thing,” Davis understated. “We might need a guy to start for us down the road, who knows what’s going to happen.”
Hafer started six games last season as a rookie, and also pitched four and one-third innings of relief here at Lafayette, striking out five while allowing just one run on one hit.
Sophomore Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give Rider a 3-0 lead. “That was a big home run,” Davis said.
It was Fazio’s third home run of the season and fourth in 99 career games.
A sacrifice fly by freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) in the sixth inning gave Rider a 4-0. “Locklear got a big sac fly for us,” Davis said.
Freshman Connor Luff (Milford, DE/Milford) had two of Rider’s eight hits, and is batting .600 in his rookie collegiate year.
The Broncs defeated the Leopards 5-3 back on March 5 at Rider. Last season Rider lost 6-3 at Lafayette and Rider beat Lafayette in 2011 in Flemington, NJ, Rider’s fifth straight win over Lafayette. The former East Coast Conference rivals have now met 78 times since the series began in 1947, with Rider holding a 42-36 advantage in the series.
Rider travels to Niagara for a three-game MAAC series May 4-5. “It’s a big series,” said Davis, who’s first place Broncs (11-4 MAAC) have won all five of their series this year. “Maybe this weekend is a little bigger now that we’ve got ourselves in position.”
A result of hard work, leading up to May.