Rider University 4, Iona College 3 (8 innings)
Rider University 16, Iona College 8
NEW ROCHELLE, NY-- Junior Sean Olson (Vineland, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) hit two home runs and a double to lead Rider to a pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference wins over Iona Sunday, as the Broncs swept the three game series. “That’s our goal every weekend, to sweep the series,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “It’s tough to come up here and win three games. On the road, three wins, you gotta like that.”
In the first game, a scheduled seven inning contest, Olson hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie. With two outs sophomore Matt McCollum (Tabernacle, N.J./Shawnee) singled and scored on Olson's first home run of the day. “Olson came up with a huge hit,” Davis said.
Junior James Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) moved from right field to the mound in the seventh inning and stuck out the first batter he faced before allowing a double, then retired the next two batters. “He pitched out of it,” Davis said. “The big play of that inning doesn’t even show up in the box score. They had the winning run on third base and a ground ball to shortstop took a bad hop but (sophomore Garrett) Rugg fought it off and made a great play. He misses that ball, we lose.”
Iona scored a run in the eighth inning on a walk and a double before Hayes ended the game with a strikeout, his third. “Iona’s record (1-28,1-11 MAAC) is not indicative of how they play,” Davis said. “The first two games of the series were tough wins.”
With the win Hayes improves to 3-0 with six saves.
Rider tied the score at 2-2 in the seventh inning when freshman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) doubled. Freshman A.J. Albee (Ashley, Pa./Hanover Area) pinch ran and went to third on a single by junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional) and scored on a ground out by freshman John Ralston (Annadale, VA/Paul VI)..
Iona scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 2-1 lead.
The Broncs took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with a two-out solo home run by Heyne, his second of the season. Heyne had two of Rider's six hits in the first game.
Rider junior Jimmer Kennedy (Levittown, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) pitched six innings and struck out five without allowing a walk, leaving the game with the score tied at 2-2.
In the second game Rider (17-13, 7-5 MAAC) scored three runs in the third inning when senior David Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./American Heritage) hit a two-run home run and Olson followed with his second home run of the day and his seventh of the season, giving Rider a 7-3 lead. David Hayes had three hits in the second game.
The Broncs broke the game open with three runs in the fourth inning on one hit, an RBI single by Jamie Hayes, an error and a pair of walks, two runs in the fifth on an error and two more hits, the biggest hit a double by Heyne, two runs in the sixth on two hits and a sacrifice fly by Heyne and two more runs in the seventh on one hit, an RBI single by Jamie Hayes, to take a 16-5 lead. “We swung the bats a little bit in the second game,” Davis said. “Heyne had good at bats. He hit the ball the other way and came within five feet of hitting another home run.”
Rider junior pitcher Dan Sasso (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown) earned the win in relief, pitching four innings and allowing two runs on three hits, striking out three without allowing a walk. “Sasso came in and held them at bay, allowing us to get the bats moving a little bit,” Davis said. “His outing was a real plus for us.”
Iona cut the lead to 4-3 in the second inning on a pair of walks, a passed ball and a two-run single, and a pair of back-to-back Gael home runs cut the lead to 12-5 in the fifth.
The Broncs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a single and five walks. Iona got a run back in the first on a two-out single, a walk, wild pitch and an infield RBI single.
Iona has now lost its last 15 games. “We were lucky to win the first two games,” Davis said. ‘We could have lost both of them. They were tough wins.”
Last year Rider defeated Iona 10-3 but lost 3-1 and 8-6 in 10 innings. Rider and Iona have met 37 times since the series began in 1960 with Rider winning 24.
Rider travels to Monmouth Tuesday and hosts NJIT Wednesday.