Davis Earns 900th Career Win as Rider Edges Monmouth
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Rider University baseball team rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth to edge visiting Monmouth, 6-5, on Monday afternoon in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) action at Sonny Pittaro Field. The Broncs (20-26-1, 12-12 MAAC) took the rubber game in the three-game set with the Hawks (17-27, 9-12 MAAC) to close out their regular season conference schedule.
Rider opened the scoring, plating two in the first inning thanks to back-to-back run-scoring hits from Riley Mihalik (Churchville, PA/Chestnut Hill Academy) and Harrison McClure (Atlanta, GA/North Atlanta/South Florida State). Monmouth would rally for five runs in the sixth to take their first lead of the day.
Rider would answer with a run in the sixth courtesy of a two-out RBI double from freshman Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) to cut the deficit to two at 5-3. In the bottom of the eighth, the Broncs would storm back to take the lead for good with three runs capped by a two-out single by McClure to bring Johnson charging home with the would-be game-winning run.
Offensively Johnson set the tone for the Broncs at the top of the going, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. McClure also had a solid showing at the dish, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs, while Mihalik also added a pair of RBIs. Senior Mike Volaski (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard/Ventura Community College) was the other Bronc with a multi-hit game, recording two hits and scoring a run.
On the mound, freshman Pete Soporowski (South Amboy, NJ/Sayreville War Memorial) got the start for the Broncs and went 5.1 innings. Soporowski allowed three earned runs and scattered three hits, while striking out four Hawks. In relief, junior Paul Sparano (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win. Sparano allowed just one hit and struck out three batters without surrendering a walk.
NOTES & QUOTES
“That was one of the most exciting game we've had here,” Rider Head Coach Barry Davis said. “Johnson sort of willed our way back into the game. He took the extra base twice and he was thinking two out of the box in the eighth.”
“Winning this series is important because we haven't won very many of them this year,” Davis added. “They are a good team and it's nice to take two games. Diorio did a decent job out of the pen and Sparano did the rest.”
- Soporowski retired the side in order in both the second and third innings. After allowing a leadoff single to start the game, he set down the next 10 batters he faced.
- Johnson's multi-hit game was his team-leading 18th of the season. He also picked up his 17 RBI of the year with a two-out double in the sixth.
- Rider enters the final week of the conference schedule with a bye. The Broncs will await their postseason faith this weekend. The league will be announcing playoff scenarios later this week.
- The win was the first of the season for Sparano.
- Last Tuesday, freshman starting pitcher John Yocum was tabbed as the MAAC Rookie of the Week. It marked the second time this season that he has earned the weekly distinction. He is the only first-year pitcher in the league to receive the accolade more than once.
BRONCS BY THE NUMBERS
- The victory was the 900th as a Head Coach for Davis.
- The two-hit game was the second of the series and the 12th of the spring for Volaski.
- Richie Tecco's sacrifice bunt was his team-leading 12th of the year.
- Out of the bullpen, Mike Diorio tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief for the Broncs. He surrendered just one hit and walked a batter after getting out the first three batters he faced.
- Josh Sharik's appearance out of the bullpen was his team-leading 27th of the season and the 100th of his career.
- Rider stranded seven runners through the first three innings, leaving the bases loaded in the first and runners on first and second in both the second and third.
Rider closes out the 2017 regular season later this week with a three-game series at Youngstown State scheduled for May 18-20. The Broncs and the Penguins will play at 5:00 pm on Thursday, 11:00 am Friday and noon on Saturday. Live stats will be available for all three games. The three games will be the first-ever between Youngstown State and Rider.
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