Sowa Two-Hitter as Broncs Salvage Split
New Jersey Institute of Technology 4, Rider University 3
Rider University 5, New Jersey Institute of Technology 0
LAWRENCEVILLE--Sophomore Kurt Sowa (Bensalem, Pa./Father Judge) threw a two-hit complete game shutout as the Rider University baseball team salvaged a non-conference split against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday afternoon at Sonny Pittaro Field.
Rider won the nightcap 5-0 after losing the opener 4-3.
The 6-4 right hander threw 110 pitches (73 strikes) in picking up his fourth win of the season and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in the seven inning game.
"The second game was more of a complete ball game," said head coach Barry Davis. "Kurt threw well and established the strike zone. He did a great job and went right at them."
"I threw a lot of strikes and felt really good," said Sowa who has four of the nine Bronc wins this season. "We got the lead early and I just finished it out. My fastball and cutter were working, they were chasing it so I stuck with it."
This is the second time Sowa has pitched seven shutout innings this season as he got the decision, scattering three-hits at Norfolk State on February 25 in a 1-0 combined shutout win.
Rider (9-9) opened the second inning with four straight singles, including run scoring hits by sophomore Greg Fazio (Far Hills/Ridge) and senior Richie Garcia (Franklin Square, N.Y./Valley Stream North) as the Broncs led 2-0 with Garcia executing a hit and run. NJIT turned a double play with Fazio scoring for the third Rider run.
"That was big, having a successful hit and run," Davis said about the Garcia play. "We put a couple of hits together and combined with the shutout from Sowa that was the difference. After the opener, it was big to get three runs early."
"Playing with the lead, everyone has confidence and we have momentum going for us," Sowa said. "Having the lead was great."
Fazio was two for three with two runs scored in the second game and he had four hits and three runs scored on the day.
"All of the players have been struggling a bit at the plate, Fazio included," Davis said. "Today was a good day for him. He also had a solid day in the field and hopefully he can continue to do that along with some of the other guys."
Fazio began the next Bronc rally with a one-out infield single in the fourth inning, eventually coming around to score on an RBI single by junior Ken Kremer (Hershey, Pa./Hershey). Kremer was one for one with an RBI and a walk in the second game.
Garcia scored on a fielder's choice in the fourth inning as the Broncs extended their lead to 5-0.
Also for Rider in game two, sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, Pa./Council Rock South) had two of the eight Bronc hits.
In the opener, NJIT (6-11) took advantage of four Rider errors to score two unearned runs in a one-run win over the Broncs.
Rider took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single by sophomore Eric Strano (Robbinsville), scoring sophomore Mike Parsons (Liverpool, N.Y./Liverpool) who led off the inning with a double.
The Highlanders used a two-out single to right field to score an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning, tying the game 1-1.
NJIT opened up a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning on three hits and another Bronc error.
Rider extended the bottom of the fifth inning on an NJIT error and got to within 3-2 on a double play ground out.
The Highlanders pushed their lead to 4-2 with a one-out RBI double in the top of the seventh inning. An RBI single by senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Township) got Rider to back within one run (4-3) in the bottom half of the seventh.
Lindsay had two of Rider's seven hits in the opener.
Senior Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) went six innings, recording six strikeouts and he allowed only one earned run in picking up the loss.
"When you lose game one with what may be your best guy throwing, it can be disheartening," Davis said. "We didn't play well but you have to give NJIT credit, they put some things together and took advantage of our mistakes."
Rider travels to NJIT on Sunday for the final game of the three-game set.
"To salvage one of the two games, that gives us a chance to go up there on Sunday and win the series," Davis added.
Prior to the win, Rider had lost five straight games, four of them by one run.
"We started off the season well and then we lost some tough games," Sowa added. "We are back at .500 and we are in a position to try and take the series Sunday."
The Broncs return home Tuesday to face Rutgers at 3:30pm.