Broncs MAAC Regular Season Champs
Marist College 11, Rider University 5
Rider University 4, Marist College 0
Rider MAAC Regular Season Champs
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—It was a record breaking day for the Rider baseball team Saturday.
The Broncs split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader at Marist. With the victory, Rider wins its first MAAC Regular Season Title and will be the top seed in the upcoming MAAC Championship Tournament.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the program,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “I don’t think we’ve ever done it in the MAAC.”
In Rider’s first season in the MAAC (1998) the Broncs won the MAAC South, the final year that the conference was split in North and South Divisions.
“At the end of the day winning the tournament is the most important thing, the ultimate goal, but every year you set out to be number one,” Davis said. “This year we were fortunate enough to do that.”
The win also gives Rider 34 victories on the season, a new Rider record for regular season wins. “Another milestone,” Davis said. “We’re trying to keep everything in perspective. We have another game tomorrow and we have to get everybody ready to go in the tournament.”
As the top seed, Rider (34-19, 18-5 MAAC) will play the fourth seed, Siena, at 7pm on Thursday, May 23 in the first round of the MAAC Championship tournament, hosted by Rider at ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder.
#2 Marist and #3 Canisius will play the 3pm game on Thursday.
In the second game Saturday, junior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) hit a two-run, two-out double and sophomore Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) followed with an RBI single in the fourth inning to give Rider a 3-0 lead.
“We got a big hit out of Nick there,” Davis said, “and Fazio followed.”
With two hits in the doubleheader Fazio now has 96 career hits.
Sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) led off the seventh inning with his first home run of the season to give Rider a 4-0 lead. It was Thomas’ second hit of the game and the third of the day.
Sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) started and pitched four innings, allowing just one hit and one walk, striking out two for the win (in a seven inning game starters just need to pitch four). “That’s a big win for him,” Davis said.
With the victory Sowa (11-1) sets a new Rider-record for wins in a season. The previous record of 10 wins was set by Jack Lackey in 1963 and tied by College World Series star Bob Koehler in 1967 and Major League all-star Jack Armstrong in 1985.
Junior Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie) pitched the final three innings for the save, his first since 2010.
In the first game, Marist (26-22-1, 16-7 MAAC) broke the game open with four runs in the third inning on five hits and a Rider error to take a 7-1 lead.
Rider scored three runs in the sixth inning on three hits, including a two-run double by freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) and a Marist error to cut the lead to 7-5.
“Lock swung the bat and was on base quite a bit,” Davis said.
Locklear had three hits, including two doubles, in the doubleheader.
The Red Foxes came right back with three runs on four hits to take a 10-5 lead after six innings.
The Broncs cut the lead to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly by senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) in the top of the third inning.
Marist scored three runs in the second inning on two doubles and two singles, all with two outs, to take a 3-0 lead.
Rider and Marist play the third game Sunday at 12 noon. A Rider victory and the Broncs will have won all eight MAAC series this year. “We’re going to try to win the game tomorrow, absolutely,” Davis said. “Any time you play you want to win. We didn’t play great today so it would be nice to go out and play a little better tomorrow.”