Rider Beats Siena, Faces Canisius Late Tonight
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MAAC Championship Tournament
#1 Rider University 7, #4 Siena College 1
MERCER COUNTY—The Broncs scored in six different innings to defeat Siena in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship tournament, held at ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder. “Winning the first game puts you in good position because if we win tomorrow we’re in the catbird seat,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, the MAAC Coach of the Year.
For Rider (35-20) senior Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched seven innings, allowing just one unearned run while striking out nine. “Smith was very good,” Davis said. “He did a great job.”
A Second Team All-MAAC selection this year, Smith (7-5) now ranks fourth in career wins at Rider with 21. The former All-East closer already ranks second in career saves (27) and owns the Rider records for appearances in a season and a career (97).
In MAAC postseason play Smith has two wins and two saves. In 2010 he saved the MAAC Title Game as a freshman closer. “This is the best time of year to pitch,” said Smith. “To be able to do well on this stage and give our team a chance to win is great.”
The Broncs scored two runs in the fifth inning on two hits, including an RBI single by junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South), and two Siena errors to take a 5-0 lead. An RBI single by freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) in the sixth inning made it 6-0.
Rider senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) collected his second hit of the game and 16th hit in the last 10 games and scored on the second RBI double of the game by senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) to give Rider a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
“I’m getting close to where I was last year,” said Lindsay, the All-MAAC DH in 2012 who saw his batting average drop over 100 points this year. “I’m feeling more comfortable at the plate the last month. But it really doesn’t matter, as long as we win.”
Wayman is the All-MAAC third baseman and had four assists Thursday. “Our defense was good tonight,” Davis said. “Wayman made every play that was hit to him and the last one he made was exceptional.”
“All these teams are good here,” Wayman said. “The first game is always the biggest game.”
Junior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton), a Second Team All-MAAC selection this year, led off the fourth inning with a triple and scored on a ground ball for a 3-0 lead.
Lindsay and Wayman hit back-to-back doubles to give Rider a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Rider defeated Siena two of the three games during the regular season this year. Saint pitcher Matt Gage defeated Smith on April 27 but suffered the loss Thursday to fall to 6-6 on the season. “Gage pitched well against us the last time so it was key to get to him early,” Davis said.
“I think we figured him out,” said Wayman, who now has 229 career hits. “We got the pitches we wanted and put good swings on them tonight.”
“Seeing him before this year helped me tonight,” Lindsay said of Gage. “I got a couple of pitches I was looking for.”
“When I faced them earlier I left a lot of pitches up and didn’t have my splitter,” Smith said. “Today I found my splitter and I was able to command my fastball low, inside and outside.”
Siena (25-28) scored its lone run in the eighth inning on a hit, an error and a ground out.
Rider was MAAC Champ in 2010 and 2008. Siena was the MAAC Champion in 1999, 1997, 1996 and 1995. Rider is now 5-4 vs. Siena in postseason play. Siena beat Rider in the 1999 Title Game and Rider beat Siena in the 2008 Championship game.
Rider will now play Canisius (40-15) in the winner’s bracket Friday at 9:45pm. The Siena-Marist loser's bracket game was delayed three hours due to rain. “Friday night is a big game for us,” Davis said.
Canisius defeated Marist 2-1 in the first game. “Canisius is very good,” Davis said. “Hopefully it will be a great game.”