Rider University 3, Quinnipiac University 2
HAMDEN, CT— It’s a whole new ball game.
The major league spring training comes to an end this weekend and the real season begins. That’s the way the Rider baseball team is thinking about its first 20 games prior to conference play.
After beginning the season 5-15, the Broncs began conference play with a 1-0 record, defeating Quinnipiac in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game Saturday morning before the rains came.
“It was a well-pitched game, we played pretty good defense and we did what we had to do to win a game,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
For Rider (6-15, 1-0 MAAC) junior Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) pitched eight innings, allowing one run on just two hits, striking out three. “I thought he was pretty good,” Davis said. “He attacked the zone and he gave us eight innings and gave up just one run. That’s a good job.”
With the win Sowa is now 18-8 in his career. Only 15 other Broncs have ever won 18 or more games in their careers. Sowa was the 2013 MAAC Pitcher of the Year and has earned MAAC Pitcher of the Week honors this year.
Rider junior shortstop Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) Parsons had four of Rider’s eight hits.
Rider used a double-steal and an error to score twice in the seventh inning, taking a 2-1 lead. Junior Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) walked and went to third on a single by Parsons. When Parsons stole second, Fazio stole home. On the bad throw home, Parsons scored all the way from second for the lead.
“Parsons went all the way around,” Davis said of his shortstop. “He noticed nobody was making a play on him when he rounded third so he kept on going. That ended up being an important run.”
An RBI double by junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) gave Rider a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning. Richter has now hit safely in his last 10 games. Richter also stole a base, his 12th in 15 tries, which ranks among the top 30 in the nation.
Playing for the first time since March 8, sophomore Brian Donnelly (Churchville, PA/Council Rock South) walked and scored from first on Richter’s double. “Donnelly was running on the play and was able to score from first,” Davis said.
Sophomore Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) pitched the ninth for the save, his third of the season.
Quinnipiac (5-15, 2-2 MAAC) had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth inning. “We made it interesting,” Davis said.
A fly ball to Donnelly in right field scored the runner from third but Donnelly hit the cutoff man, junior first baseman Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South), with his throw, who nailed the runner trying for third base and end the game. “Donnelly hits the cut off and they get the runner trying to go to third in a run down to end the game,” Davis said.
The Bobcats used a hit batsman, a walk and a two-out single to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The second and third games of the series are scheduled for Sunday beginning at 12 noon in rainy Hamden, Connecticut.
“Basically it rained from the fifth inning, on,” Davis said. “There is more rain in the forecast so it is a good thing we started at 10am and got this one in. Fortunately we won the game and hopefully whenever we play our next one we will have a chance to win that one too.”
The next game of the new season.