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MAAC Championship Tournament Day Three
#3 Canisius College 18, #1 Rider University 7
MERCER COUNTY—The Broncs lost to Canisius in the winners bracket game (Game 4) of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship tournament, started late Friday night and finished Saturday afternoon at ARM & HAMMER Park, home of the Trenton Thunder.
The Broncs committed four errors and six Rider pitchers walked 13 batters.
Rider (35-21) will now play again at 6pm tonight against Siena (25-28). A loss tonight and the season is over, a victory and Rider will compete in the championship round Sunday, having to defeat Canisius twice for the title.
Game 4 was suspended due to rain after the fourth inning late Friday night.
On Saturday Canisius (41-15) scored eight runs in the sixth inning on six hits, including a two-run triple, two errors and a hit batsman, to break a 7-7 tie, and scored another three runs in the seventh inning for an 18-7 lead.
Rider scored two runs in the fifth inning on three hits, including an RBI single by sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY), to tie the score at 7-7. Parsons had three hits in the game.
Canisius scored two unearned runs on a double, a walk and two Rider errors in the top of the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead.
Rider sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) had three of Rider’s 15 hits.
Rider scored three runs in the fourth inning on three hits, including RBI singles by freshman James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) and senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial), two walks and a hit batsman, to tie the score at 5-5 before the rains returned.
“Adam’s and Locklear’s hits were big for us last night,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, the MAAC Coach of the Year. “Being gritty and tough, being able to bounce back, that is what has gotten us this far,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t expect anything less of this group.”
Rider has now scored more runs this year in the fourth inning (50) than any other inning.
Wayman, the All-MAAC third baseman, had two of Rider’s seven hits in the first four innings Friday night.
Sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge), the MAAC Pitcher of the Year, lasted just three and two thirds innings, allowing just three hits while striking out five but walked seven and hit a batter. Sowa (11-1) left the game trailing 5-2, with four of the runs reaching base on walks.
“You can’t do that,” Davis said of the walks. “Kurt has been very good all year but he has had a tendency to get behind in the count. The walks are never good.”
A two-run single by Second Team All-MAAC outfielder Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) in the first inning got Rider on the board.
After striking out the first two batters of the game, Sowa walked the bases loaded before giving up a grand slam, as Rider fell behind 4-0 in the first. Canisius took a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning on three more walks, a single and a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) collected his 99th and 100th career hits in his 109th start.
Rider defeated Canisius all three times during the regular season this year.
Rider is now 3-4 vs. Canisius in postseason play. Rider defeated Canisius twice in the 2010 MAAC tournament, including 4-2 in the Championship Game. Canisius defeated Rider 10-3 last year in the 2012 MAAC tournament.
In the first game Friday, pushed back from 3pm to 6pm due to rain, Siena (25-28) defeated Marist (27-23-1) 12-5 and eliminated the Red Foxes.