Sowa Pitcher of Year, Davis Coach of Year
Five Broncs All-MAAC, 10 All-Academic
MERCER COUNTY—Six Rider Broncs were honored by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for their record-breaking 2013 baseball season.
Barry Davis was named the MAAC Coach of the Year for leading Rider to a program record 34 regular-season wins and its first MAAC Regular Season Title since Rider finished first in the MAAC-South Division in 1998. “There are a lot of things that go into these awards,” Davis said. “We have a good group of players who played well right from the beginning and I have great assistant coaches,” Davis said.
Sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) was named the MAAC Pitcher of the Year and was a First Team All-MAAC selection along with junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South) and senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial).
Smith, Sowa and Mulderig were also named to the MAAC All-Academic Team, along with sophomore Mike Campbell (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville), junior Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose), freshman Connor Luff (Milford, DE/Milford), sophomore Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney), sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY), sophomore Eric Strano (Robbinsville) and sophomore Eric Thomas (Dallastown, PA).
Sowa (11-1) became the first Bronc to ever win 11 games in a season (just the fourth to win 10) and ranks fifth nationally in victories. “Kurt had a great year,” Davis said. “His only loss was (sixth ranked) South Carolina.”
Sowa ranks 10th in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (5.7) while opponents are batting just .176 against him. Sowa was 7-0 in MAAC games this year. “He matched up against everybody in the conference,” Davis said. “He pitched in some seven inning games and some nine so he had to make some adjustments during the year and he handled it well.”
Sowa is already in Rider’s career top 20 with a 16-5 collegiate record.
It marks the second year in a row and the third time in four years that Rider had the MAAC Pitcher of the Year. Mike Thomas ’11 won the award in 2010 and Mike Murphy ’14 won the award in 2012. “That’s a tribute to our pitching coach, Jaime Steward,” Davis said. “They gravitate to what he is doing. He has also had a MAAC Closer of the Year (2010 Tyler Smith ’13).”
Former Major Leaguer Kevin Barry ’01 shared the MAAC Pitcher of the Year award in 1999 with Steward, who pitched for LeMoyne.
Mulderig leads Rider in batting (.337, 60 hits in 51 games), on base percentage (.431), slugging percentage (.433) and walks (29), is second in stolen bases (16) and is third on the team in RBI (29). “Jerry’s having an outstanding year,” Davis said.
An All-New Jersey selection this year, Mulderig has also pitched in 10 games this year and owns a 3-2 record. Mulderig is expected to be drafted this summer as a pitcher, but as a Behavioral Neuroscience major spends what little practice time he has on his hitting. “He has handled the distractions of the scouts, the missed practices due to labs, the playing outfield, designated hitter and pitcher, about as well as possible,” Davis said.
Wayman is batting .302 for the season, .318 against MAAC pitchers, and leads Rider in hits. “Consistency has been Adam’s forte,” Davis said. “He performed very well at third base this year. He can do a number of things for us offensively and is a good team captain.”
The Rider third baseman has 61 hits this year and his career total of 227 is fifth most ever at Rider.
Smith started the first game of every series this year and won six games with a 3.35 earned run average. Smith ranks second in the MAAC in strikeouts (73) and leads Rider in innings pitched (86). “Tyler deserves everything he gets because of his attitude, his character and his work ethic,” Davis said, “not to mention he’s a pretty good pitcher.”
A former All-East closer, Smith enters the tournament tied for fifth in career wins (20) and is second in career saves (27), and owns the Rider records for appearances in a season and in a career (96). “He’s made himself into the player he is,” Davis said.
Crescenzo leads Rider in a unique combination of RBI (34) and stolen bases (18) and in splitting his time between center and right field has 151 putouts and four assists without an error. “He drove in a lot of runs for us and is a good situational hitter,” Davis said. An All-New Jersey selection this year, Crescenzo was the 2011 MAAC Rookie of the Year and this year batted .322 against MAAC pitchers. “He’s getting hot lately, just at the right time,” Davis said.
Davis was the New Jersey Coach of the Year in 2010 and the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2006. This year Rider won seven of the eight MAAC series, finishing with a program-best 18-6 conference record. Davis collected his 800th collegiate victory when Rider defeated Lehigh on April 9, 2013, and enters the tournament with a career mark of 817-402 (JC, NAIA, NCAA). At Rider Davis owns a record of 246-235. He has compiled three 30-win seasons in the last four years, including a program best 36 wins in 2010.
Rider is hosting the four-team MAAC Championship Tournament May 23-26 at ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder.
As the top seed, Rider plays the fourth seed, Siena (25-28, 15-9 MAAC) at 7pm Thursday. Rider won two of three games at Siena this year.
In the first game of the tournament Thursday afternoon, the second seed, Marist (27-22-1, 17-7 MAAC) plays the third seed, Canisius (39-15, 15-9 MAAC) at 3pm.
The Broncs will be seeking their 12th conference championship in the last 29 years. Rider won MAAC Titles in 2010 and 2008.
The winner of the MAAC Tournament will be one of 64 teams that advance to an NCAA Regional.
The 1967 Broncs advanced to the College World Series and finished fifth. Since then, 10 Rider teams have played in NCAA Regionals. The 1987 Broncs reached the East Regional Championship Game, the final 16 teams in the nation and one win away from the CWS.
In 2010 Rider played in the Regional at Austin, hosted by the University of Texas, and in 2008 Rider traveled to the Regional at Fullerton, hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
The 2013 Regional Sites will be announced Sunday, May 26. The NCAA Baseball Selection show is Monday, May 27 at 12 noon.