NEW ROCHELLE, NY—Unless you win the national championship, winning your final game of the season usually means you had a disappointing season. The Rider Broncs failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, so 2014 would qualify as a disappointing season.
“We had a tough year,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
Still, the season ended on a positive note.”Today was an example of the things we were capable of doing,” Davis said. “It was nice to get a win for the seniors in their last game. It is always fun to win.”
In the season finale the Broncs won a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at Iona Saturday. “That was about a complete a game as we’ve played in I don’t know how long,” Davis said, “as far as hitting, defense and pitching. The whole package. We did everything today. When you do that you get these kinds of results.”
For Rider (16-33, 7-15 MAAC), junior Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) hit an RBI triple, his fourth hit of the day, and scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) for an 8-2 Rider lead in the ninth.
“In addition to hitting the ball he made a great base-running play, freezing on a line drive, which keep an inning alive and allowed us to score two more runs in the seventh inning,” Davis said.
Locklear had two hits, three RBI and a stolen base. “Lock swung the bat and was aggressive early in the zone,” Davis said. “He even had some good outs.”
Rider junior lefty Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and struck out five for his team-high fifth win of the season. “Zach pitched well,” Davis said. “He was able to keep the leadoff batter off base and we turned a couple of double plays.”
Rider senior Ken Kremer (Hershey, PA/Hershey) hit a two-run single in the seventh inning to take a 6-1 lead.
Fazio doubled, went to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Tyler Kaiser (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) for a 4-1 lead in the fifth.
Rider took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) walked, Fazio doubled and Locklear hit a two-run double before stealing third and scoring on a ground out.
Iona (13-31, 9-15 MAAC) got on the board in the fourth inning on a pair of walks and a single and scored a run in the seventh inning on two hits.
Junior Nick Richter (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) had two hits but more importantly stole two bases to tie and break the Rider record of 40 that stood for 47 years. “They couldn’t give him the base,” Davis joked, “but Iona did acknowledge it which was a classy move on their part.”
Rider Hall of Famer Mike Lisetski stole 40 bases on the 1967 College World Series team. “That’s a great achievement by Richter,” Davis said.
Richter leads the nation in both stolen bases and stolen bases per game with 41 in 49 games.
“It is good to go out on a winning note,” Davis said. “When the season began we expected to be in the (MAAC) tournament, but we didn’t play well enough to deserve it. Today we did, with some clutch hits, we pitched well, and we ran the bases well. That’s what happens when you do those things.”