Broncs Host Manhattan This Weekend
Jaspers Come to Lawrenceville Saturday, Sunday
LAWRENCEVILLE-Legend has it that 19th century Manhattan College disciplinarian, Brother Jasper of Mary, instructed the spectators at a Manhattan baseball game to stand and stretch during the seventh inning when he noticed they were becoming restless. Since the College annually played the New York Giants baseball team in the late 1880s and into the 1890s at the Polo Grounds, the Manhattan College practice of the "seventh inning stretch" spread into the major leagues, where it has now become a time-honored custom.
This weekend the Rider baseball team will host the Manhattan Jaspers in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series, with a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. Play begins on both days at 12 noon.
The Jaspers are the defending MAAC Champions.
Manhattan (14-17, 7-2 MAAC) has the most conference wins in the MAAC and has won its last 10 games. The Jaspers are led by junior outfielder Anthony Vega, who is batting .348 with 40 hits in 31 games and owns a slugging percentage of .496.
Junior right-hander John Soldinger is the ace, with a team-best 3.29 earned run average. He has a 2-3 record in seven starts with three complete games and a team-high 34 strikeouts.
Senior right-hander Taylor Sewitt owns a team-best 4-1 record but 11 of his 12 appearances have come in relief. He has one start and one save, with 28 K's and just five walks in 32 innings.
Sophomore righty Scott McClennan has also made seven starts and is also 2-3.
Last year the Broncs and Jaspers split the doubleheader in Riverdale and the third game was rained out.
The last time the Jaspers came to Lawrenceville the Broncs took two of three games from Manhattan.
Since the series began in 1998, Rider's first year in the MAAC, the Jaspers have won 25 of the 45 meetings. Manhattan beat Rider 2-1 in the 2009 MAAC Tournament.
Rider is coming off a stunning 6-5 loss at Monmouth on Wednesday when all 11 runs were scored in the ninth inning.
Murphy is coming off a win at Fairfield when he pitched eight innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits.
Smith made his first collegiate start last week at Fairfield and pitched a complete game (seven innings) four-hitter, striking out six while allowing just one run.
Sowa is also coming off a fine performance at Fairfield, where he pitched into the seventh inning and struck out six while allowing two runs on just four hits.
Offensively, Rider junior outfielder Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) is batting a team high .309, while senior centerfielder Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) leads the team with 36 hits, 22 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and 14 runs batted in.
Rider will look to end Manhattan's 10-game winning streak this weekend and start a winning streak of its own. It is not a "stretch" to think that will happen.