Rider University 4, Canisius College 3
Rider University 10, Canisius College 7
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Broncs swept Canisius Saturday in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader. “Canisius is a very good team,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “They’ve always been a tough opponent and today was no different. Two good ball games today.”
In the second game, junior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) had four of Rider’s 14 hits, including a triple, and three RBI. “I felt confident at the plate today,” said Crescenzo, who now has 136 career hits in 127 games.
Crescenzo had five hits and four RBI in the doubleheader. “Big day for Nick,” Davis said.”He’s been productive batting out of that five slot. That’s why we have him there.”
Rider (15-12, 4-1 MAAC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings as sophomore Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) had a double and scored in the second inning and hit an RBI single in the third inning.
Rider junior Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose) was an emergency starter in game two and pitched three and one-third innings in his first start of the year. “Kyle came in on short notice and did a great job,” Davis said. Kennett was 4-0 as a mid-week, non-conference game pitcher as a freshman, but 11 of his 12 outings were in relief last year.
Senior Sean Kuberiet (Branchburg/Somerville) pitched three innings of relief for the win and senior Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion) picked up the save. “Kube came in and settled the game down for us,” Davis said. “Chris came in and got the final out.”
Rider sophomore Eric Strano (Robbinsville), senior Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) and senior Ian Lindsay (Oaklyn/Haddon Twp.) each had two hits, including a double, in the second game.
In the first game, Canisius (20-9, 4-4 MAAC) led 3-0 before the Broncs scored four runs on four hits in the sixth inning. “That is something (bunching hits) that we haven’t been able to do,” Davis said. “We out-hit Maryland but they were all scattered throughout the game. You have to be able to put hits together and we did in that inning.”
Junior Jerry Mulderig (Langhorne, PA/Council Rock South) doubled, Wayman and Crescenzo hit RBI singles to get Rider on the board and Thomas hit a two-run single to give Rider a 4-3 lead. “I was just trying to put it in play,” Thomas said of his game-winning hit. “I’m pretty sure it was an inside fastball, which I’ve been struggling with, but I’ve been working on it.”
Thomas had four RBI in the doubleheader.
Mulderig had two of Rider’s seven hits in game one.
Rider senior Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched eight innings, striking out three with just one walk for his 19th career win.
Rider sophomore Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) pitched the ninth inning for his sixth save of the season.
Canisius is picked to finish second in the MAAC this year, after finishing second last regular season and runner-up in the 2012 Championship Tournament. “Taking two from Canisius today sets us up nice down the road, as we try to win the conference,” Crescenzo said.
Rider leads the all-time series with Canisius 30-22, but Canisius had won the last five meetings. Canisius defeated Rider three times in the regular season last year and again in the 2012 playoffs. “We went up there last year and got swept, which was terrible,” Thomas said, “and then they beat us in the MAAC tournament. This year it feels great to have a big day against them. We need to come out tomorrow and get the sweep”
Canisius also beat Rider in the 2011 playoffs.
“All the games we play with them are competitive,” Davis said of the Griffins. “We’ve always felt that we were in those games with them, even the ones we lost.”
Rider won two of three games with Canisius during the 2011 regular season.
The third game of the series is Sunday at 12 noon. “The last two years that has been our struggle, winning the third game after winning the first two,” Crescenzo said. “That is our challenge for tomorrow.”