Rider University 9, Hofstra University 8
HEMPSTEAD, NY-The Broncs jumped out to a big lead and held on to defeat Hofstra Tuesday afternoon. "When you score nine runs you should win,"' said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "We did, and we'll take that."
With the bases loaded and two outs in bottom of the ninth inning sophomore pitcher Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion) recorded a strike out for his first collegiate save. "Getting the last out with a 'punch-out' was big," Davis said. "The momentum swung so much toward them that we had a tough time getting it back."
Rider (6-7) led 9-0 before Hofstra (1-11) scored eight runs in the final three innings.
Rider senior Karl Johnston (Hamilton, N.J./Peddie) had four of Rider's 12 hits. Johnston batted .313 last year with 65 hits but got off to a slow (.175) start this year. "He was certainly due," Davis said.
The Broncs took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on three hits and three Hofstra errors, the biggest hit an RBI double by senior Mason Heyne (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock). Rider went up 5-0 in the second inning on an RBI single by Heyne and an RBI single by senior Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial).
Heyne and Galella combined for four hits and three RBI Tuesday. The two have combined for 380 hits and 262 RBI in their careers.
Senior John Ralston (Annandale, Va./Paul VI) doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) to give Rider a 6-0 lead. Ralston homered in the seventh to give Rider a 9-0 lead.
Cotten hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Broncs a 7-0 lead.
Rider senior A.J. Albee (Ashley, Pa./Hanover Area) hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to give Rider an 8-0 lead. Albee scored three runs and now has 128 career runs scored, 12th most ever at Rider.
Freshman Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose) pitched seven innings, allowing three runs for his first collegiate win. "I thought Kyle pitched great," Davis said. "He cruised through six innings. He was actually throwing well in the seventh until he hit the wall."
Hofstra scored three runs in the seventh inning on five hits to cut the lead to 9-3 and scored four runs in the eighth on three hits, a walk and a hit batsman to cut the lead to 9-7. "We hit the leadoff batter of the inning I think four times," Davis said. "Not sure why."
The Pride scored a run in the ninth on a hit batsman, a hit and an error for the final score.
Rider defeated Hofstra 9-7 on March 11, 2008, the last time these two teams met. Rider holds a 30-10 advantage in the series that began in 1941. Rider and Hofstra are former East Coast Conference rivals (1975-1992)
Rider plays the home opener 2pm Wednesday against Quinnipiac. "We still have a long way to go to get where we want to get," Davis said. "It will be nice to play at home."