Rider Hosts Iona Sun.-Mon.
Broncs to Seniors Sunday
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Rider University baseball team will host Iona College in a three-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series this weekend, the final home weekend of the regular season.
Having already clinched a berth in the four-team MAAC Championship Tournament, hosted by Rider at ARM & HAMMER Park in Mercer County, the Broncs (30-17, 14-4 MAAC) will turn their attention to the graduating seniors prior to Sunday's 12 noon doubleheader.
Johnny Montes ’95, who helped Rider win three conference championships in his four years at Rider, passed away suddenly this winter and will be remembered in a pregame ceremony Saturday at 11am in the Campus Pub. A former member of the Puerto Rico High School All-Alliance team, Johnny played in 95 games at Rider, his last two years alongside his younger brother Willie, and collected 54 hits, including 24 as a senior on the 1995 Northeast Conference Championship team. As a junior Johnny had a hit in the NCAA Tournament in Miami.
On Sunday Rider will bid fond farewell to eight graduating seniors, including two who are in the Rider record books, Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) and Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial).
Smith ranks among the all-time leaders at Rider in wins (19) and saves (27) and already holds the Rider records for appearances on the mound in a season (31) and in a career (94).
Wayman ranks sixth in career hits at Rider (220), just one hit shy of fifth.
On Monday a sophomore will try to enter the record books as well, sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge). The 6’4” right-hander is 9-1 on the season, the ninth best record in Division I. The national leader currently has 12 wins.
Only three Rider pitchers have ever won a program-record 10 games in a season. The last to do it was All-American Jack Armstrong in 1985. Armstrong went on to start the MLB all-star game as a rookie for the World Champion Cincinnati Reds.
A 6’4” right-hander, Sowa is holding opponents to a .191 batting average on the season. Sowa ranks 35th in the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.25).
Rider closes out the home schedule on Tuesday, hosting La Salle, and plays the final MAAC series of the season in what looks to be a showdown for first place at Marist May 18-19.
The MAAC Championship is May 23-26. The official pairings for the tournament will be announced May 20.