Temple University 15, Rider University 8
WILSON, NC—The good news is that even though there is still another week left in February, the Rider baseball team found green grass to play on.
“The good news is that we were outside and were able to play,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, the 2013 MAAC Coach of the Year.
The bad news is that the Broncs lost the 2014 season opener to Temple Saturday at Historic Fleming Stadium, home of the N.C. Baseball Museum and the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain Summer Collegiate League.
Rider freshman Nick Kagel (Lawrenceville, NJ/Lawrence) had three hits and three RBI in his collegiate debut. “Kagel swung the bat well and drove in a couple runs,” Davis said. “He did his part to keep us in the game.”
Kagel was a First Team All-CVC and All-Area selection last year, while batting .500 at Lawrence High, where he set the school record for RBI.
Rider junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) and senior Ken Kremer (Hershey, PA/Hershey) each had two of Rider’s 12 hits and sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) had two RBI.
“We swung the bats,” Davis said. “Offensively I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
Rider freshman Mike Diorio (Middletown, NJ/Middletown South) was the second of four Rider pitchers and pitched two and two-thirds innings in his collegiate debut. “I thought Diorio threw pretty good for his first time out,” Davis said. “He got us out of a jam.”
Rider junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) also made his Rider debut and doubled and scored a run.
Rider scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a double by Kagel to cut the lead to 10-6.
After the Owls took a 7-3 lead in the top of the third the Broncs came back with a run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Kagel.
A two-run single by Locklear following an RBI single by junior Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) in the second inning cut the Temple lead to 5-3.
“We got ourselves back in the game (5-3, 10-6),” Davis said, “but every time we scored, they scored. We couldn’t get back into the game because we couldn’t stop them from scoring.”
Temple jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning off of junior Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge), all five runs scored with two outs.
An All-East selection last year, Sowa pitched two and a third innings, allowing four walks while striking out four. “He threw over 40 pitches in the first inning and he could have easily been out of it with no runs,” Davis said.
Rider junior Chris Wirth-Kenyon (Lawrenceville, NJ/Pennington) pitched two innings in his Rider debut and allowed one run.
It was the first meeting between Rider and Temple since the Broncs beat the Owls 10-8 in 2009. Rider and Temple have now met 59 times since the series began in 1946, with Rider winning 32.
“If we can come back tomorrow and win and we’re back to square one,” Davis said.
Rider plays Temple again Sunday at 1:30pm.