Broncs Season Opener Saturday
WILSON, NC--The 2014 Rider University baseball season begins Saturday afternoon at 2pm.
The season was scheduled to begin Tuesday at the University of Maryland but the game has been postponed until March 5 at 6pm.
Rider will now begin the season with a four-game series with Temple and UMass-Lowell in Wilson, NC this weekend.
“We are excited to get on a field,” said Rider head Coach Barry Davis, the 2013 MAAC Coach of the Year, whose team has had a limited preseason due to snow. “We had a good experience down there last year (vs. St. Bonaventure) and we had the opportunity to go again so we are looking forward to it.”
The games with Temple (Saturday and Sunday) and UMass-Lowell (Monday) will take place in Historic Fleming Stadium, home of the N.C. Baseball Museum and the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain Summer Collegiate League
Rider is picked to finish third in the 11-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, after winning the 2013 regular season.
Rider returns the 2013 MAAC Pitcher of the Year, junior Kurt Sowa, and five starters in the field.
Among the five returning starters, four of them play up the middle; junior catcher Eric Strano, junior shortstop Mike Parsons, junior second baseman Greg Fazio and senior centerfielder Nick Crescenzo.
“We have a lot of experience up the middle, with Strano behind the plate, Parsons and Fazio at middle infield and Crescenzo in centerfield,” Davis said. “That’s good to have. They’ve played a lot of games. We should be good defensively.”
Last year Sowa won a Rider-record 11 games and opponents batted just .180 against him. For his efforts he was named All-East and was an ECAC All-Star. “Sowa will most likely get the ball the first game of each series,” Davis said.
“After Sowa we don’t have a lot of starting experience but we do have pitching experience,” Davis said. “They’ve made a lot of appearances and pitched a lot of innings.”
The key losses on the Rider roster are Jerry Mulderig (.328, 31 RBI), who was drafted in the 28th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, four-year starting third baseman Adam Wayman (234 career hits) and pitchers Tyler Smith and Mike Murphy. Smith compiled a career record of 21-17 with 27 saves while Murphy had a 16-14 career pitching record.
The Rider team goals remain the same. “Our goals are to win every series, make the MAAC tournament, and win the tournament,” Davis said.