Rider University 9, Marist College 1
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—The Broncs defeated Marist in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game Sunday to win the series two games to one. “Every weekend we have the same goal, to win the series, so we are happy we were able to do that today,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “We did a good job and I’m proud of our guys.”
Rider (8-17, 3-1 MAAC) scored six runs in the first inning as junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) hit a two-run single, junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) hit an RBI double and sophomore Brian Donnelly (Churchville, PA/Council Rock South) hit an RBI single.
The Broncs came back with three more runs in the second inning on an RBI bunt single by sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) and a pair of Marist errors.
“You want to score early,” Davis explained, “but sometimes it can come back to haunt you because you relax. Today we kept swinging the bats and we were able to make the plays in the field.”
Rider senior right-hander Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose) pitched seven innings and allowed just one unearned run on six hits and no walks, striking out four to improve to 7-4 as a Bronc.
“The main thing when you get a big league early like that is maintain your focus,” Kennett said. “I threw a lot of fastballs and sliders today, trying to get that first pitch strike.”
“A very well pitched game by Kyle,” Davis said. “We got some runs early and he was able to attack the (strike) zone. He made them put the ball in play and we played good defense.”
“I felt pretty good,” said Kennett after picking up his first win of the season. “Any time you get a six-run lead in the first inning you just want to come out and throw strikes. The offense sparked early and I just tried to make them put it in play. They did and our defense made the plays.”
Richter, Thomas and freshman Giovanni Gussen (Mullica Hill, NJ/Gloucester Catholic) each had two of Rider’s nine hits, while Locklear had two RBI. “Those are the top three in our line up right now and it seems to be working,” Davis said.
Marist (8-20, 2-7 MAAC) scored an unearned run in the sixth inning on two hits and a Rider error.
Marist is Rider’s oldest conference foe. The series began in 1992 and Rider has won 34 of the 74 meetings.
Rider returns to Sonny Pittaro Field Wednesday, April 9 to host NJIT. “They took two out of three from us earlier this year so hopefully our guys will be ready to take them on,” Davis said.
The Broncs have won five of their last nine games.
“Hopefully we can catch fire here,” Kennett said. “We’re starting to swing the bats and we’re pitching well. If we get hot we’re dangerous.”