Rider University 6, University of Delaware 2
NEWARK, DE—When you get good pitching, good defense and bang out 16 hits, including a pair of home runs, it’s hard not to win. The Broncs did all of the above in a victory at Delaware Wednesday.
“We got great pitching today,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “All four guys pitched well, and to hold a good team like Delaware to just two runs is outstanding.”
Sophomore Matt McCollum (Tabernacle, N.J./Shawnee) and junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional) each collected three hits, while sophomore Nick Wojnowski (Baldwin, Md./Calvert Hall) and junior Sean Olson (Vineland, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) each collected two hits, including home runs. “They were both solo home runs, and solo home runs don’t usually win you games unless you get pitching like we got today and play defense,” Davis said.
Freshman Mike Thomas (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) pitched three and two-thirds innings of relief, striking out two, for his first collegiate win. “Thomas was very good,” Davis said.
Thomas entered the game in the third inning with one out and runners on second and third and recorded a strikeout looking and a pop up to centerfield. “We brought him in in a tight situation and he got us out of it,” Davis said. “My arm felt good today,” Thomas said. “With the wind blowing out I tried to keep my fastball in on the right-handed hitters and it was working. It feels pretty good to get that first win.”
“Thomas is great,” Olson said. “He spots up very well with his fastball, change up, curve ball, he can throw anything for a strike at any time. He’s big for us. He shoots knees all the time and didn’t miss too many times today.”
Olson hit a solo home run, the first for a Bronc this season and the eighth of his career, to give Rider a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Olson also made a diving catch near the Rider dugout on a foul pop up with two men on and two out in the fifth inning of a 4-1 game. “Making the catch felt better than hitting the home run,” Olson said. “The home run helps out, but we had the hitting throughout the lineup today. The catch was a big play.”
Wojnowski hit a home run to lead off the fourth inning on the first pitch by reliever Dan Richardson, giving the Broncs (5-2) a 4-1 lead. “I was watching him when he was warming up,” Wojnowski said, “and he was throwing all fast balls. I guessed fast ball on the first pitch and I sat back and drove it and luckily it went out. It felt good.”
Freshman shortstop John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI) collected a pair of doubles and began a key double play with bases loaded and one out in the second inning. Ralston’s second double of the game knocked in McCollum in the ninth inning for the final score. “That was a big hit there for Ralston,” Davis said. “If he doesn’t get that hit they have the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth.”
Junior right fielder James Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) led off the game with a walk, stole second and third, and scored on a two-out infield single by freshman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) to take a 1-0 lead. “Any time Jamie gets on he’s looking to run,” Olson said. “We as hitters have to take pitches to give him that chance to run, then all we need to do is hit a single or put the ball in play somewhere for him to score.”
J. Hayes pitched the scoreless ninth inning to preserve the win without allowing a hit. The RBI double by Ralston in the top of the ninth inning gave Rider a four-run lead and cost Hayes a save opportunity, after recording a Rider-record 11 saves last season. “If we can win them all with no saves that would be fine with me,” Davis said.
Senior David Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./American Heritage) pinch hit in the eighth inning and doubled. “We’ve got some guys on the bench who can come in and make plays,’ Davis said. “He hits a lot of deep fly balls and with the wind blowing out today I put him up there and he didn’t disappoint.”
McCollum also doubled for Rider.
The Broncs defeated Delaware in 2005 and lost to Delaware in 2006. The meeting at Rider last season was rained out.
Rider travels to Tennessee Tech for a three game series this weekend, beginning with a doubleheader Saturday.