Rider University 5, Liberty University 4
LYNCHBURG, VA—Rider evened the series at 1-1 at Liberty Saturday, collecting 12 hits, while handing Liberty its first loss of the season. “It was a typical 5-4 ball game when everything is magnified,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
Junior James Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) moved from right field to the mound in the ninth inning and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save, his first of the year and the 16th of his career. “Jamie came in and threw strikes,” Davis said. “14 of his 20 pitches were strikes. He had good stuff today.”
Rider (4-1) took a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning when James Hayes hit an RBI single and scored on a double by freshman Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial). “Steve played solid at second base and had a big hit for us,” Davis said.
Sophomore Kris Brown (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) pitched out of a jam in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and one out Brown recorded a pair of strikeouts to hold the lead at 5-4. Brown now has nine strike outs in four innings pitched this season. “Liberty had a couple of big swingers in the middle of the line up and Brown made some quality pitches to get it done,” Davis said.
The Broncs took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by freshman John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI), and went up 3-1 in the third inning on an RBI two-out single by freshman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock). “We did enough early and played good enough defense to win,” Davis said. “Ralston had a big hit for us.”
Galella, Heyne, James Hayes, senior David Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./American Heritage) and junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional) each collected two of Rider’s dozen hits. “We moved the ball around a little bit at the plate,” Davis said.
Junior Jimmer Kennedy (Levittown, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) pitched 5+ innings and struck out three, allowing two earned runs on eight hits for his first victory of the season and the 11th of his career. “Jimmer struggled early but battled his way through,” Davis said. “He gave us a good effort.”
Freshman Patrick Devlin (Richboro, Pa./Council Rock North) pitched out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the sixth inning with a strike out, an RBI ground out and a fly out.
Liberty (5-1) cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh inning with a double, a wild pitch and a single off of Devlin, all with two outs, before junior Dan Sasso (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown) came in and ended the inning with a strike out. “Sasso threw something off speed on a full count,” Davis said. ‘That was a big pitch that a lot of guys don’t do. That was a big at bat in the game.”
Rider plays the third and final game of the series at Liberty Sunday at 1pm. “We certainly would like to build on this tomorrow,” Davis said. “I anticipate another game similar to this one.”