By Benjamin Shinault
RIDER baseball continued its winning ways after taking two of three from the Siena Saints. Rider dropped the first game of the series, but then it was all winning moving forward. Huge contributions came from all around the diamond whether at the plate or on the mound, it seemed as if the Broncs dominated in all facets.
After yet another conference series win, the Broncs nearly kept the winning ways alive against NJIT, but fell just short 7-6 on April 11.
Winning streak comes to a halt
After a winning streak that stretched five games for the Broncs, it finally came to a screeching halt after losing 3-1 to the Saints in the first game of the series of a Friday doubleheader. Senior pitcher Dylan Heine was in charge of controlling the Saints did a solid job, but was not as dominant as his past outings with a line of 6 1/3 innings, eight hits, three earned runs, three walks and four strikeouts.
The scoring for the Saints began in the second inning when they hit a solo shot to left field to get on the board first, a pinnacle moment they would not look back from. Later on, the Saints added two more runs coming off a single up the middle and a wild pitch that scored a run.
The only Rider run came from a solo home run to left field off the bat of junior catcher Brian Skettini.
One of the many Broncs that struggled to decipher what Saints fifth year starter Arlo Marynczak was throwing at them was senior outfielder Brendan O’Donnell.
“He was able to locate his fastball up and got us to chase it,” O’Donnell said. “We had opportunities but couldn’t get that big hit to ignite the offense.”
The beast from the pen
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Broncs looked more like themselves as they wrapped up the ballgame with nine total hits, seven runs and a win. With brisk weathers attempting to pray on the Broncs downfall, they did nothing of the sort and the Broncs split the doubleheader and won the second game of the series, 7-2.
Graduate student pitcher Frank Doelling took complete control of the game and went deep into his start, going seven innings and striking out five Saints.
Doelling, on the other hand, found himself in trouble, walking four and allowing seven hits, but it kept the ball in the ground as he relied on the elite defense behind him to clean up any potential mistakes.
It’s beyond overdue to mention the complete dominance that graduate student relief pitcher Danny Kirwin has been displaying all over the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
In the second game of the series, the bullpen beast that is Kirwin closed the game by facing five Saints players and striking out all of them, leaving them whimpering in the batter’s box.
“I just think to myself that nobody can hit me, and I’m going to make good pitches,” he said.
Some of the biggest contributors on the offensive side were senior infielder John Volpe, sophomore outfielder Richie Sica and O’Donnell. Volpe had four hits on the day, bringing in four runs, while O’Donnell totaled two hits and two RBIs.
‘A lot of excitement’
Another day, another win for the Broncs in Loudonville, New York, against the Saints. Whether it was sophomore starting pitcher Brian Young merely pulling the strings of the Saints or O’Donnell’s two home runs, no doubt was left in the minds of Rider fans that it was a fun game to watch.
Young was on the mound for the Broncs looking to have a similar outing to the successful one he had the week before against the Niagara Purple Eagles. Young went seven innings, allowed just four hits, a singular walk and struck out seven agitated Saints.
Young wasn’t the only Bronc to have a superb performance on the diamond as O’Donnell hit two home runs and accounted for almost half of the team’s runs.
O’Donnell gave a descriptive point of view and walkthrough of his two home runs.
“I saw it pop out of his hand and was able to stay through it to left.” O’Donnell went on to describe his second long ball, “It was on an inside fastball, I got a little jammed but was timed up for it and was able to give us an answer.”
That second home run from O’Donnell was his 100th career hit, the fourth Bronc to achieve that offensive milestone this season.
Senior outfielder Scott Shaw had a grand slam in the second inning which put the Broncs up four early on in the ballgame. From the grand slam from Shaw and a two home run day from O’Donnell, the Broncs propelled themselves to a 7-4 victory over the Saints and yet another divisional series win.
Came up just short
Ending a successful MAAC matchup against the Siena Saints, the Broncs faced a fellow New Jersey college in the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). After leading early in the ballgame and having their way with the Islanders pitching in the early stages, the Broncs couldn’t hold on and lost 7-6 on April 11.
Freshman pitcher PJ Craig got the start for the Broncs and his outing did not go as planned as he allowed two home runs in only two innings pitched. A few other freshman pitchers such as Gavin Hawkes and Christian Aiello both checked in for the Broncs, giving up two earned runs.
The offense of the Broncs did what they had to do, putting six runs up on the board, but this time around it wasn’t enough to give them the win. A select group of Broncs had a good day at the plate. Those were Shaw, senior first baseman Luke Lesch and senior catcher Socrates Bardatsos. Shaw and Bardatsos both doubled and Lesch had two runs batted in.
With this loss, the Broncs look ahead to their next matchup against the team they lost to in the 2022 MAAC championship, the Canisius Golden Griffins. The Broncs look to take revenge on April 14 at 3 p.m., with the second game of the three-game series taking place at the Trenton Thunder Ballpark, home of the Trenton Thunder, on April 15.
Tickets will be free for the first 100 students with their Bronc ID and will cost $5 after.