Broncs Clinch Playoffs
Iona College 5, Rider University 2 (two extra innings)
Rider University 10, Iona College 3
NEW ROCHELLE, NY- You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.
What the Broncs wanted was a sweep of Iona to end the conference regular season on a positive note and clinch a playoff spot.
What the Broncs needed, with second place Canisius taking two from fifth place Marist this weekend and first place Manhattan sweeping sixth place Saint Peter's, was to win two games to reach the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
"I think we're in," said Rider head coach Barry Davis.
The Broncs split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader at Iona Sunday to win the series two games to one and clinch a berth in the four-team MAAC Championship Tournament.
Rider (20-29, 13-11 MAAC) has now won eight of its last 11 games and won six of the eight MAAC series this year.
"Considering the way the year has been I'm more excited about this team making it than any other," Davis said. "This team is so young and struggled early but was able to persevere."
In the second game senior Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run and junior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) hit a two run home run, both in the third inning following a two-out error, to give Rider a 5-2 lead.
"Cotten was able to hit it deep to center and the centerfielder ran into the fence," Davis said. "Then Lindsay hit his home run. That's quality hitting when you can put hits like that together. That got us going."
Cotten had two hits and four RBI in the second game and three hits on the day.
Lindsay had three hits and two RBI in the second game.
Rider added two runs in the eighth inning on three hits, including an RBI single by sophomore Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South), to take a 10-3 lead.
Freshman Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) singled, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Eric Strano (Robbinsville) in the fourth inning and Cotten hit an RBI single for a 7-2 lead. Graduate student Ryan Murphy (Yardville, N.J./Steinert) hit an RBI single in the fifth for an 8-2 Rider lead.
A single and a home run in the first inning gave Iona (18-32, 8-13 MAAC) a 2-0 lead.
Rider freshman Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, PA/Fr. Judge) pitched six innings and allowed three runs, striking out two, for his fourth win. "Sowa was doing well," Davis said. "He had a bit of a bad hamstring coming in so he really pitched well."
Freshman Mike Parsons (Liverpool, NY) had two of Rider's 10 hits in the second game.
In the first game, a scheduled seven inning contest, a double, a single and a three-run home run, all with two outs in the ninth inning, gave Iona the extra inning victory.
Rider junior pitcher Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched the entire game, striking out five while walking just one. "Tyler can only do so much," Davis said. "We have to hit the ball and score some runs when he get the opportunities."
RBI doubles in the fifth inning by Mulderig and sophomore Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) tied the score at 2-2.
The Gales went up 2-0 in the fourth inning with a bases loaded hit by pitch with two outs.
Iona took a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a double, a single and a sacrifice fly.
Iona out-hit Rider 11-5 in the first game.
Rider took two of three games from Iona last year in Lawrenceville and has now won 12 of the last 15 meetings.
Rider and Iona have now met 50 times since the series began in 1960 with Rider winning 33. The Broncs won all three games the last time Rider traveled here to Iona, in 2010, took two out of three when Iona visited Lawrenceville in 2009 and Rider won all three at Iona in 2008. The Gaels won two of three in 2007.
Rider hosts Temple Tuesday at 3:30. "We haven't played a mid-week game in a while (off last week, rained out the week before) so hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be able to get it in. We need to get some guys some work and we want to get that 21st win."
Sometimes, you get what you need.