Rider University 9, Wagner College 4
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—The Broncs defeated Wagner Wednesday afternoon. “It wasn’t a very well played game, by either team,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, who saw 17 walks and five errors between the two teams. “But these things happen. They aren’t all pretty.”
Rider junior lefty David Hafer (Pine Grove, PA) pitched six and two-thirds innings before giving up a hit, striking out a career-high 10 batters for his second consecutive win, improving to 3-1 on the season. “David pitched great,” Davis said. “He battled and pitched out of a couple jams. He was very good.”
“I felt alright,” said Hafer, who allowed two unearned runs and has allowed just three earned runs in his last 21 and two-thirds innings. “I got a little wild there in the third inning.” Hafer faced six batters in the scoreless third inning, with all six batters running a full count. After that, however, Hafer sat down 12 straight batters.
“I found my groove there,” Hafer said. “I was spotting up my fastball today and using my change-up.”
Rider (10-20) took a 4-2 lead in the second inning with two runs on two hits and a Wagner error, the big hit being an RBI double by junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South). Thomas had two doubles on the day and now has 11 on the season and 29 in his career.
Wagner (8-22) scored two unearned runs in the first inning on two Rider errors, a walk, a stolen base and a ground out.
The Broncs broke the game open with two runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth inning on a two-run single by junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove). It was Richter’s second hit of the game.
Rider senior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) stole five bases and is now 15 for 17 on the season. Richter also stole a base and is 17 for 21 on the base paths, which ranks among the top 20 in the nation in stolen bases per game.
Rider sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) had three RBI and a bunt single.
With the win, Rider snaps a three-game losing streak.
The Seahawks defeated Rider 3-2 on March 11. Rider and Wagner have now met 20 times since the series began in 1959, with Rider winning 15. The last time Rider beat Wagner was in the 1997 Northeast Conference tournament, a 20-6 victory in the NEC semifinals.
“We’re happy we got the win and hopefully we’ll play better this weekend,” Davis said. “We just need to carry this into the weekend,” Hafer said.
Rider will now host Niagara in a three-game MAAC series beginning with a single game Friday (3:30pm) and a doubleheader Saturday (12 noon). “Niagara is good,” Davis said. “They are going to be tough. These are important games for Rider and Niagara.”