Rider 8, Saint Joseph's 5

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: March 26, 2008
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James Hayes leads Rider to win
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)

College Baseball

Rider University 8, Saint Joseph's University 5


LAWRENCEVILLE—Your assignment, Mr. Hayes, is to start the game in centerfield, even though you played second base yesterday. Late in the game after we use a pinch hitter for the right fielder we’ll move you over to right, and of course, if the game is close at the end, we’ll bring you in to pitch.


Just another day at the office for junior James Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./Piper), who collected three hits, including two doubles, and pitched a scoreless ninth inning with three strike outs for his fourth save of the season and the 19th of his career.


“I try not to let it (playing several different positions) affect me,” said Hayes, a two-time All-MAAC and All-New Jersey player (once as a right fielder, last year as a shortstop) who was named to the preseason 2008 Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award watch list.  “Wherever Coach puts me I’m there to play. Swing the bat and play the best I can. Today was the best I felt at the plate in about a year.”


Hayes now has 144 career hits at Rider in 120 games, at various positions.


“He can adapt to wherever we play him,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “With some guys you might worry that all of the moving around could affect them in a negative way, but Jamie’s used to it. He could literally play all nine positions if we needed him to, which is a luxury, and he’s starting to swing the bat like he can.”


The Broncs collected 11 hits in all to defeat Saint Joseph’s Wednesday. “We took some aggressive swings today,” Davis said. “We even made some good outs. There’s a difference between a good out and a bad out. We looked like we were locked in at  the plate today. Today was a good day for us. We swung the bat.”


Junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional) hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to break a 5-5 tie and had four RBI on the day. In the fifth inning, with runners on first and second and no outs, Williams was asked to sacrifice bunt but instead bunted into a 1-5-6 double play. “Mo bounced back and turned that bunt around to hit the home run and basically win the game,” Davis said. 


“I felt like I let the team down with that bunt,” Williams said, “so I was glad I was able to pick the team and myself up with the home run. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run, just hit it hard and redeem myself.”


It was Williams’ first home run since his freshman year. “I hit quite a few home runs in high school, but here, I only hit them when we really need one, like when the score is tied 5-5 late in the game,” Williams joked.


Sophomore Eric Woodrow (Hamilton, N.J./Hamilton West) doubled in the eighth inning and scored on a double by Hayes for the final score. “That was a big hit by Woodrow,” Davis said. “That’s the type of hit that has not been dropping in for us much this year.”


The Broncs (9-9) took a 5-1 lead in the third inning when Hayes doubled, freshman Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) hit a two-run triple, junior Sean Olson (Vineland, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) hit an RBI single, freshman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) doubled and Williams hit a two-run double.


Olson, Heyne and Williams each had two hits on the day. “I felt good at the plate today,” Williams said.


St. Joseph’s (8-14) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out walk and a triple, and the Hawks tied the score at 5-5 in the fifth inning with four runs on four hits.


Sophomore Kris Brown (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) pitched two and one-third innings of scoreless relief, striking out two, for the win. “Brown came in and did a good job,” Davis said. “I thought he was outstanding.”


Junior Dan Sasso (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown) pitched four and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits and left the game with a 5-3 lead. “I wanted Dan to get through five (innings), but it didn’t work out,” Davis said.


The Broncs host Marist in a three-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series this weekend, beginning with a 12 noon doubleheader Saturday.  “Marist is a good team and they play with a lot of tradition on their side,” Davis said. “We certainly respect them but I think they respect us as well. I think it’s good to play the tougher teams early.”


The only question that remains for this weekend is where Hayes will play.



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