Rider University 9, Marist College 6
LAWRENCEVILLE--The Broncs scored six runs in the eighth inning for a come-from-behind Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win over Marist Friday. "It is big to win the first game," said Rider head coach Barry Davis
The game was played Friday instead of Sunday to beat the approaching rain. The Saturday doubleheader will also begin early, at 11am, to help beat the rain.
Marist (13-20, 5-7 MAAC) took a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning with three runs on four hits. "I thought they took control of the game," Davis said. "For us to bounce back from that, the guys that came off the bench did a good job."
In the eighth inning Rider (12-24, 7-6 MAAC) tied the score at 5-5 with a two-run pinch hit double by graduate student Ryan Murphy (Yardville, N.J./Steinert) and took an 8-5 lead on a three-run home run by sophomore Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South), his first collegiate home run.
"He gave me a fastball, over the plate, a little bit up in the zone," said Mulderig. "I was looking for it."
"He threw me a fastball," said Ryan Murphy. "I honestly think being a pinch hitter is one of the toughest things in baseball to do. I've been doing it for five years now. I have my routine, trying to stay focused, stay ready. When it works like today it makes we want to be a pinch hitter."
Mulderig has been playing right field but the last month has been used as the closer. "That home run today was a better feeling than getting a save," said Mulderig, who now has one of each. "Saves are up there, but there's nothing better than a home run that gives you the lead late in a game."
Rider sophomore Mike Murphy (Hamilton/Peddie) started the game and pitched eight innings, allowing three earned run while striking out five. "I thought Mike did a good job," Davis said. "He threw fine."
"I felt pretty good today," said Murphy, who improved to 4-3 on the season. "My location was not where it should be but I was able to throw strikes. Today I used my fastball-change up a lot, trying to keep them off balance."
Murphy entered the game second in the MAAC in e.r.a. (2.37) and third in strikeouts (40). "I think setting the tone the first game is so important," Murphy said. "I like pitching the first game."
Rider junior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) hit a two-run home run right down the left field line to give Rider a 3-2 lead. "I didn't think it was staying fair," Davis said. "It was close. We'll take it."
"I didn't really see it, I just hit it and took off," said Wayman, who had three hits on the day. "It was a fastball, down and in."
Rider won the last two MAAC series after winning the first game.
"That was a huge win for us, especially when you play just one game on the first day," Wayman said. "If we can come out tomorrow and get the first game hopefully we'll have enough momentum to get a big sweep."
Freshman Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, striking out two. "I thought Mawson did a good job coming in and closing," Davis said.
Senior Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Broncs a 1-0 lead.
Mulderig and Rider freshman Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) each had two hits
Rider and Marist will play the second and third games of the series Saturday beginning at 11am. "Saturday is very important," Davis said. "Two very big games for us. It was important for us to get off to a good start. Hopefully we can take some momentum from this win."
"Today was an enormous win," Mulderig said. "We were able to play well behind Murphy and tomorrow we just have to keep producing."