Rider 10, Va. Tech 6
Rider University 10, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 6
BLACKSBURG, VA- Junior Karl Johnston (Hamilton/Peddie) had two hits and three RBI, all in one inning, to lead Rider to victory at Virginia Tech Wednesday evening. "This was a nice win for us," said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "We got some clutch hits."
The Broncs scored nine runs on eight hits in the sixth inning to take a 9-3 lead. Johnston had three RBI on two singles in the inning. "We certainly got the big inning we've been looking for," Davis said, "and a lot of it (four runs) was with two outs."
Other big hits in the inning were a two-run double by junior Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock), an RBI double by senior Nick Wojnowski (Baldwin, Md./Calvert Hall), and RBI singles by junior A.J. Albee (Ashley, Pa./Hanover Area), freshman Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) and senior Eric Woodrow (Hamilton/Hamilton West).
"Wojnowski's hit put us ahead but Johnston's second hit of the inning gave us the separation we needed," Davis said. "It gave us some cushion because we knew they were going to make a run. They are a good team that hits the ball."
The two-run double gave Heyne 100 career RBI, 19th most ever at Rider. "Mason had a big hit for us and that's what you need to beat a good team," Davis said, "you need big hits and we got some tonight."
Wayman had two of Rider's nine hits. "Wayman does a good job at third base," Davis said, "and it (him playing third) gives us some mobility." When Wayman plays third base, Heyne can move to first base or designated hitter, where he was Wednesday.
For Rider (6-7), freshman Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion) pitched into the sixth inning, allowing two earned runs for his first collegiate win. "Chris Taylor threw a great game for us," Davis said.
Wojnowski hit a solo home run, his third of the season, with two outs in the seventh inning to give Rider a 10-6 lead. "That was a big home run," Davis said. "Nick had two big hits for us."
Va. Tech (13-5) scored three runs on three hits and an error to cut the lead to 9-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning. VT took a 1-0 lead with a single, stolen base and a two-out single in the fourth inning. The Hokies scored two unearned runs in the fifth inning on two hits and an error to take a 3-0 lead.
The rookie relievers, freshman Chris LeRoy (Freehold/Colts Neck), freshman Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) and freshman Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie), pitched the final three and one-third scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. "All four freshmen pitched well today," Davis said. "That's a good sign. The bullpen was solid today. LeRoy hadn't pitched since Maryland Eastern Shore (February 24) and got four big outs without giving up a hit. That's hard to do."
The Broncs travel to Longwood for a four-game series beginning Friday. "Hopefully we'll be able to build on something," Davis said.