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MAAC Championship Tournament Day Three
#4 Siena College 11, #1 Rider University 8 (10 innings)
MERCER COUNTY—All good things must come to an end.
The record-breaking Rider University baseball season came to an end Saturday in the loser’s bracket of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship tournament at ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder.
Three consecutive Siena (27-29) doubles in the top of the tenth inning scored two to break an 8-8 tie and a wild pitch made it 11-8. “Any time you give up 11 runs you are going to have a problem winning the game,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, the MAAC Coach of the Year. “They were able to get it done and we weren’t.”
Trailing 7-1 after four innings, Siena came back to tie the score at 7-7 in the seventh inning with a grand slam, chasing the 2012 MAAC Pitcher of the Year, junior Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie). It was the second tournament game in a row that the Bronc pitchers surrendered a slam.
“We gave up 29 runs in the last two games,” Davis said. “If you look at our stats you’ll see we never do that.” The Broncs came into the tournament with the best pitching staff e.r.a. in the MAAC.
Siena will now compete in the championship round Sunday, having to defeat Canisius (41-15) twice for the title. “Whoever goes to a Regional will run a pitcher out there who can compete,” Davis said. “These games are competitive. The teams in this league are good.”
Rider junior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) tripled for the second time in the tournament and scored on a ground out to re-take the lead, 8-7, in the seventh inning.
Siena came back in the ninth with the tying run on two walks (one intentional), a sacrifice bunt and an RBI two-out single. “We were one out from winning the game and we didn’t make a pitch,” Davis said.
Rider senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) took a relay throw from senior left-fielder Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) and threw out the potential winning run at the plate in the ninth for the third out.
Lindsay singled and scored on a ground out for a 3-1 lead in the third inning and hit an RBI single for a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Lindsay collected 18 hits and 17 RBI in his final dozen games and graduates with 144 hits, 45th most ever at Rider.
The All-MAAC third baseman, Wayman hit a three-run home run, his third hit of the game and seventh of the tournament, to give Rider a 7-1 lead.
“Wayman epitomizes what we talk about as far as being a player in big games,” Davis said. “He made every play, he made spectacular plays, he had big hits, the home run. He’s been a leader, a true captain.”
Wayman graduates with 234 career hits, fifth most ever at Rider, 139 runs, 10th most ever at Rider and 126 RBI, 12th most ever at Rider.
Sophomore Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) hit an RBI triple in the second inning to tie the score at 1-1 and scored on an error for a 2-1 Rider lead. Fazio had two hits in the season finale and enters his third Rider season with 102 career hits.
Siena took a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a single, a stolen base and an RBI single.
Rider (35-22) won a best-ever 34 regular season games and won seven of the eight MAAC series to win the MAAC regular season.
“We had a great year,” Davis said. “When we look back on it we’ll be pleased with this year, but not yet. It is hard to win tournaments. That’s why when you do win them you have to celebrate them.”
Rider was the MAAC Champ in 2010 and 2008. Siena was the MAAC Champion in 1999, 1997, 1996 and 1995. Rider is now 5-5 vs. Siena in postseason play. Siena beat Rider in the 1999 Title Game and Rider beat Siena in the 2008 Championship game.
The 2013 season was certainly a good thing, but has come to an end.