Saints Come Marching In
Rider Hosts Siena This Weekend
LAWRENCEVILLE-The Rider baseball team will host Siena College for a three-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series this weekend, beginning with a 12 noon doubleheader on Saturday.
Rider (9-9) is currently in sixth place in the MAAC, a game and a half out of the fourth and final playoff spot, with six conference games to play. Four conference wins over the next two weekends, against Siena and Iona (May 12-13 in New Rochelle, NY), should be good enough to get Rider into the MAAC Tournament.
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 four of their last five games.
Murphy (2.40) leads the MAAC in earned run average and strike outs and is second in the conference in innings pitched.
Murphy won three consecutive starts before receiving a no decision in Rider's win over Saint Peter's last weekend.
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 is coming off a victory over Saint Peter's in which he allowed just one earned run and will be making his 11th collegiate start on Sunday at 12 noon in the third game.
Rider freshman Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week last week. Mawson appeared in three games last week and compiled a win and two saves. He also started a game in right field and compiled a hit, a run scored and a run batted in. In seven innings on the mound last week, Mawson allowed just one run on three hits while striking out two. He earned the save in Rider's 7-5 win at Saint Joseph's, he earned the save the next day in Rider's 10-9 win over Princeton and he earned the win on Saturday in Rider's extra inning MAAC win over Saint Peter's.
Sophomore Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) had three hits in the first game of the Saint Peter's doubleheader, giving him 100 for his career in just his 82nd game started. Crescenzo enters Saturday's game against Siena with 101 hits.
Junior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial), who has played first base and outfield this year in addition to his normal third base, enters Saturday's game with 148 career hits, 42nd most ever at Rider.
Last week Rider freshman Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) collected seven hits in five games for the 4-1 Broncs with a slugging percentage of .579 for the week. Thomas batted .454 in the all-important three-game MAAC series with five hits. His RBI single gave Rider a 3-2 lead in the 10th inning of the 4-3 win over Saint Peter's.
The Broncs have been playing without their top two hitters, outfielders Brandon Cotten and Ian Lindsay. Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) leads Rider with 28 runs scored and has 44 hits in 36 games but is out with a foot injury. Lindsay missed the last few games with a concussion and is Rider's leading hitter at .315.
Siena (7-8) has won its last four games and is also in the playoff hunt with nine conference games remaining.
The Saints are led by sophomore right fielder John Rooney, who has 51 hits, including eight doubles. Sophomore Neil Fryer has six saves and a 2-1 record with a 2.86 earned run average.