Broncs Split DH with Marist

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: April 05, 2014
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James Locklear hits a slam
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)

College Baseball

Marist College 13, Rider University 9

Rider University 7, Marist College 2

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—The Broncs split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader with Marist Saturday. “We’ll take the split, especially after losing the first one, and hopefully we can build on this tomorrow and play well enough to win the series,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.

In the second game, Rider (7-17, 2-1 MAAC) broke open a 2-0 game with five runs in the fourth inning, four coming on a grand slam by sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert). It was the first collegiate home run for Locklear.

“I came up with bases loaded and I was trying to be aggressive in the count,” Locklear said.  “I got a first pitch fastball inside and I turned on it. I’ve had grand slams in the past but never one this big, this important.”

“It was exciting for him but more importantly for us it allowed us to separate ourselves from a close game,” Davis said. “A big, big hit.”

The Broncs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) led off the game with a double and scored on an RBI single by junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South).  “Both of those hits were with two strikes, which was huge,” Davis said.

Freshman Giovanni Gussen (Mullica Hill, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) reached base on a bunt single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton).

In the fourth inning Crescenzo and junior Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) singled and scored on Locklear’s home run.

Junior Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) pitched a seven-inning compete game, allowing two runs in the last inning. “Zach threw excellent,” Davis said of his junior lefty who picked up his third career win and his second this year.  “He pitched a complete game and we really needed that effort after using four pitchers in the first game and having a third game tomorrow.”

“Mawson was throwing strikes all day,” Locklear added.

Richter had two hits in the second game and four hits and two RBI in the doubleheader, scoring three times. Richter also had two stolen bases, giving him 14 in 17 attempts, which ranks among the top 20 in the nation. “His hitting has been great and he’s been running the bases well but one of his biggest plays of the day was the backhand stop on the ball down the line with runners on first and third," Davis said. "He made a quick decision, instead of going for two to get the runner at the plate and it was a big play.”

Thomas had three hits and three RBI and Gussen had three hits and scored two runs in the twin bill.

Crescenzo had two hits in the doubleheader and now has 191 for his career, 16th most ever at Rider.

In the first game, Marist (8-19, 2-6 MAAC) took advantage of six wild pitches, five pass ball, 11 walks and two Rider errors to win, despite being out-hit by the Broncs 13-8. “You are not going to win any games that way,” Davis said.

Rider junior right-hander Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) started and left the game with a 4-3 lead. “Kurt pitched well enough to win but threw 95 pitches in five innings,” Davis said.

Rider took a 3-1 lead in the third inning with three runs on four hits, including a double by Thomas and a two-run single by junior Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge).

Marist is Rider’s oldest conference foe. Rider joined the Northeast Conference. Rider won three NEC Titles before Marist won the NEC in 1997.

The series began in 1992 and Rider has won 33 of the 73 meetings, and just three of the last eight. In the MAAC, Rider won Titles in 2010 and 2008, while Marist won titles in 2009, 2005, 2002, 2001, and 2000.

Last year Rider won the first seven MAAC series’ of the season before winning just one of three games at Marist in the regular season finale.

The third game of the series is Sunday at 12 noon at Rider’s Sonny Pittaro Field.


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