Rider University 17, Fairfield University 9
Rider University 12, Fairfield University 2
Rider Reaches 20 Wins
FAIRFIELD, CT—The Broncs scored 29 runs to sweep Fairfield in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday. “We looked like we were very comfortable at the plate today,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
The pair of wins gives Rider 20 for the season in just 34 games, the fastest to 20 wins for the Broncs since beginning the 1995 season 20-11. “We’re just trying to win every game,” Davis said. “We feel every game is a winnable game if we play well. We got off to a better start this year.”
In the first game, Rider batted around in the eighth inning, scoring six runs to take a 16-7 lead. Fairfield scored two runs in the ninth inning on a double and home run for the final score.
Rider broke a 6-6 tie with four runs in the seventh inning on three hits and two Stag errors, the biggest hit of the inning a two-run single by sophomore Eric Woodrow (Hamilton, N.J./Hamilton West). Woodrow hit a two-run double in the eighth inning to blow the game open, 15-7. “Woodrow was struggling a bit but came through today,” Davis said, “he put the ball in play, hit the ball the other way. Today he was on his game and came through for us pretty big.”
Junior Sean Olson (Vineland, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning to give Rider a 13-7 lead. It was Olson’s eighth home run of the season, the most by a Bronc since Scott Rich hit 15 in 2004. “Sean is hitting the ball pretty good,” Davis said. “He’s putting pretty good swings on some good pitches to hit. I don’t think he is trying to do too much, just stay focused and hit the ball hard. He had a good day today.”
Rider took a 6-4 lead in the fifth inning on a two-run home run by junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional), his fourth of the year. “Mo hit the ball good,” Davis said. “He went the other way a couple of times.”
Rider took a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI double by sophomore Matt McCollum (Tabernacle, N.J./Shawnee).
Trailing 2-0, Rider took a 3-2 lead in the third inning when senior David Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./American Heritage) hit an RBI double and freshman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) hit a two-run single, all with two outs. “We were fortunate to battle back early in the first game against one of the best pitchers in the conference,” Davis said.
Heyne, Woodrow and McCollum each had three of Rider’s 17 hits in the first game. Rider scored nine of its first 10 runs with two outs, and 13 of the 17 in the game with two outs. “Clutch hits with two outs are huge,” Davis said.
Heyne was four for eight in the doubleheader and is 14 for his last 23.
Junior pitcher Mike Petrowski (Hamilton Square, N.J./Steinert) started and went five and one-third innings, striking out six and left the game with a 6-4 lead. Petrowski now has 24 strikeouts in his last 19.2 innings.
Freshman Mike Thomas (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) got the win in relief, his third, pitching three and two-thirds innings, striking out four.
In the second game, junior James Hayes (Sunrise, Fla./Piper) hit a grand slam home run in the third inning to give the Broncs (20-14, 9-5 MAAC) a 9-0 lead. “Jamie had a big hit to open it up,” Davis said. “That took it from 5-0 to 9-0.”
A two-run double by D. Hayes gave Rider a 12-2 lead in the fifth inning.
Junior Jimmer Kennedy (Levittown, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) struck out seven in a seven-inning complete game, earning his team-high fourth win of the season and the 14th of his career. “Jimmer does enough to keep you in the game every time out,” Davis said.
Rider scored three runs in the first inning on four hits, the biggest hits being RBI singles by Williams and D. Hayes. “That set the tone, as we carried over from the first game,” Davis said. “A lot of times that is tough to do.”
Another RBI by D. Hayes in the second inning made it 4-0 and an RBI single by Williams made it 5-0 in the third inning. D. Hayes had six RBI on the day, while Williams had five. “I thought David Hayes had a good day today,” Davis said.
Fairfield (10-24, 8-6 MAAC) scored two runs in the third inning on a pair of hits, a walk and a hit batsman to break up the shutout.
Rider senior Jon Leise (Woodbury, N.J./West Deptford) scored three runs in the second game.
Freshman John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI), J. Hayes, D. Hayes and Williams each had two of Rider’s 12 hits in the second game.
Rider has now won seven of the last eight games, nine of the last 12 and 12 of the last 17 games. “We came off a good series at Iona and kept the momentum going for this series,” Davis said.
The Broncs have defeated the Stags 34 times in 49 meetings but Fairfield swept the series with Rider 3-0 to end the Broncs’ 2007 season. “The fact that we need wins and needed to play well up here was more of a motivational factor,” Davis said, “but it didn’t hurt, the fact that they beat us three times.”
The third game of the series at Fairfield is Sunday at 12 noon.