JERSEY CITY--Saint Peter is sometimes depicted as the keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven, standing at a podium or behind a large desk at the pearly gates, holding the eternal fate of those in line.
This weekend Saint Peter's College could hold the fate of the Rider baseball team.
If the Broncs can win the three game series in Jersey City, starting with an 11am doubleheader Saturday, Rider will keep its playoff hopes alive.
Rider (14-26, 7-8 MAAC) has three MAAC series (nine games) remaining, with Siena (4-8 MAAC) coming to Lawrenceville May 5-6 and the Broncs traveling to Iona (5-7 MAAC) the following weekend. If the Broncs can win all three series (six wins) they should make the playoffs for the 10th time in 15 years in the MAAC.
The four-team MAAC Championship Tournament is May 23-27 at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY, hosted by Siena.
Rider has competed in the MAAC playoffs the last four years, winning MAAC Titles in 2008 and 2010, and advancing to the NCAA Championships.
The Broncs have currently won two games in a row and five of the last nine.
Murphy (2.49) and Smith (2.53) are one-two in the MAAC in earned run average and have combined for seven wins.
Murphy has won his last three starts and will pitch the nine-inning, 11am game.
Smith, a Preseason All-American closer, switched to starter at mid-season and won his first two starts with complete games and will start the seven-inning contest Saturday afternoon.
Sowa will be making his 10th collegiate start on Sunday at 12 noon in the third game.
Saint Peter's (16-25, 7-5 MAAC) won three in a row over Siena last weekend before losing to Monmouth on Wednesday.
The Broncs have won the last 10 meetings with Saint Peter's and have only lost to the Peacocks four times in 57 games since the series began in 1941. The Peacocks last defeated Rider in May of 2008 in the first game of the three-game series.
Although pop culture has him at the pearly gates, the real Saint Peter was an apostle who walked on water and became the first Pope.
If a fisherman can do that, the Broncs can certainly make the MAAC playoffs.