Niagara University 7, Rider University 6
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—The Broncs came back to take a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning but could not hold it, losing a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game to Niagara Friday afternoon.
“We played hard,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “I thought we competed. We were just unfortunate. We didn’t have a lot of luck today and we made too many mistakes.”
The Broncs (10-21, 3-5 MAAC) took a 6-5 lead in the eighth inning when junior Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) singled, sophomore Brian Donnelly (Churchville, PA/Council Rock South) singled, Fazio scored on a throwing error and junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) singled home Donnelly.
“We were able to take the lead, we just couldn’t hang on,” Davis said.
Richter had three of Rider’s eight hits, including a pair of doubles and scored twice. “He can’t do it by himself,” Davis said. “We need some other guys to step up.”
Richter also had three more stolen bases, giving him 20 in 24 attempts which ranks among the top 15 in the nation.
Donnelly scored twice.
Rider scored a run in the seventh inning on two walks and two errors to cut the lead to 5-4. “We stayed within range,” Davis said.
Niagara (11-21, 4-7 MAAC) scored three runs in the fourth inning on three hits, a hit batter, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to take a 5-3 lead.
Rider senior Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose) started the game and pitched seven and two-thirds innings, allowing four earned runs. “Kyle did not have his best stuff but he grinded it out,” Davis said.
Kennett was the MAAC Pitcher of the Week the first week of April and had allowed just one earned run in his last 19 innings before Friday.
Junior Jordan Schwartz started for Niagara and struck out nine in six and two-thirds innings in front of a dozen scouts. “He had a good arm,” Davis said. “I thought we did a good job of battling him. He did what they needed him to do.”
Rider and Niagara will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 12 noon. “This is our fourth weekend and we’ve been in the hole three of them,” Davis said. “That makes it tough. We need to come out and play well in the first game Saturday and do our best to win that ball game. Then we’ll worry about the third game.”