Rider 3, Niagara 2 Rider 9, Niagara 3
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Broncs swept
Freshman shortstop John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI) collected five hits and freshman third baseman Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) had a pair of home runs, as the left side of the Rider infield accounted for nine hits, five RBI and six runs scored in the twinbill. “I think the freshmen are getting their second wind,”
In the first game, with bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, sophomore Matt McCollum (Tabernacle, N.J./Shawnee) grounded out to shortstop, scoring junior Maurice Williams (Ocean, N.J./Monmouth Regional) with the winning run. The middle infielders were at double-play depth but the ball was hit too slowly for a double play, but too deep to cut down the runner at home. “Matt put the ball in play and when you do that good things happen,”
Heyne led off the ninth inning with a home run, tying the score at 2-2. “Mason came up with a big hit,”
“I was feeling good at the plate today,” Heyne said. “I thought it was going to be off the fence so I was running hard to first until I heard everyone screaming and hollering. I’m seeing the ball pretty well right now.”
Niagara took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning when a ground ball hit first base with two runners on, the third hit of the inning by the Purple Eagles.
Rider tied the score at 1-1 in the seventh inning when Ralston singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by freshman Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial). Ralston and Galella each had two of Rider’s seven hits.
McCollum made a diving catch in left-centerfield and threw out the base runner on second base to end the eighth inning. “That was one of the finest defensive plays I’ve ever seen,”
Freshman Mike Thomas (
Junior Mike Petrowski (
In the second game, Rider (23-16, 11-6 MAAC) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Ralston hit an RBI double and Galella followed with an RBI single. “Ralston and Galella had some big hits for us,”
Ralston is batting .318 with runners in scoring position, 48 points higher than his .270 batting average. “That’s a good sign,”
“I never noticed that I hit better with runners on,” said Ralston, who was a Second Team All-State (Virginia) selection at
In the third inning Rider scored four runs on four hits, including another RBI double by Ralston and an RBI triple by Williams to take a 6-0 lead. It was the second triple for Williams this week.
Junior Jimmer Kennedy (
Heyne hit his second home run of the day and his fifth of the season to lead off the fifth inning, giving Rider a 9-2 lead, but no one congratulated him when he reached home plate or the dugout. “Yea, they gave me the silent treatment,” Heyne said. “I don’t think they would have done that if it was still a close game. We were playing well so everyone was goofing around a little bit.”