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Rider University 9, Iona College 2
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Broncs defeated Iona in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game Monday to sweep the three-game series. It was the third MAAC series the Broncs (33-17, 17-4 MAAC) have swept this year. “It was a good win,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
The victory was the 33rd of the season, tying the Rider record for regular season wins. "That’s nice to have,” Davis said. “It was two years ago (2011) when we set that record and hopefully this team will finish stronger than that team did.”
The 2011 team finished 33-18 after going 0-2 in the MAAC tournament. The overall record for wins in a season at Rider is 36 set in 2010 by the MAAC Champions.
Sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) pitched seven innings for the win. “He’s been consistent all year,” Davis said. “Today we scored some runs for him.”
“My off-speed stuff was working for me today,” said Sowa (10-1), who ties the Rider record for wins in a season with 10, which currently ranks among the national leaders.
Only three Rider pitchers had ever won a program-record 10 games in a season before Sowa. The last to do it was All-American Jack Armstrong in 1985 (10-2). “I know he played here and in the major leagues,” Sowa said when he heard Armstrong’s name. “I think he was an all-star, so it means a lot to me to be in the same category as him.”
Armstrong’s 10th win was in the NCAA Tournament and he went on to start the 1990 MLB all-star game as a rookie for the World Champion Cincinnati Reds.
Sowa struck out eight batters, including the side in the fourth. Sowa held Iona to just two hits. Sowa is holding opponents to a .181 batting average on the season. Sowa ranks 35th in the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings.
Senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give Rider a 7-1 lead and had three RBI on the day. “He’s always had a little pop in his bat,” Davis said of his senior leftfielder. The home run was the third of the season for Lindsay and the sixth of his career.
Lindsay had seven hits and six RBI in the three-game series. “He’s been putting pretty good swings on the ball lately,” Davis said.
Sophomore Eric Strano (Robbinsville) had three of Rider’s seven hits. “I think two of those hits were on hit-and-runs,” Davis said.
Senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) walked and has now reached base 16 straight games, his second such 16-game streak of the season.
Sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) scored three runs.
Rider took a 5-1 lead in the second inning with five runs on three hits, an error and a sacrifice fly.
Iona (7-41, 2-19) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the third time in the series Iona scored in the first inning.
Rider hosts La Salle Tuesday (3pm) in the final home game and the final non-conference game of the regular season. “Our focus right now is to get that 34th win tomorrow against a good A-10 team in La Salle,” Davis said. “That will be a good test for us.”
The Broncs travel to second place Marist for the final conference series May 18-19.
Rider needs to win just one game of the three-game series to clinch it’s first-ever MAAC regular season title. “We’d still like to win the series and keep the momentum going,” Sowa said.