By Maria Eldridge
The Broncs are coasting into their weekend triple-header on the coattails of two close victories earlier this week. After winning a pair of conference games, the Broncs hope to use the momentum to edge out Saint Peter’s.
In Tuesday’s game, the Broncs (14-26) faced Saint Joseph’s (17-23) in what turned out to be a struggle until the ninth inning. Freshman Justin Thomas continued his consistent performance, gathering two hits, one of which left the park.
“Justin Thomas is a great hitter,” freshman Zach Mawson said. “He has been seeing the ball well lately and putting some great swings on the ball.”
Hitting has been the top priority in recent practices for the Broncs, who struggled in the batter’s box for a portion of this season.
“Hitting has been a main focus lately in practice,” Mawson said. “We have been putting more runs up in the games lately, so focusing on hitting has been helping.”
Wednesday proved to be another at bat challenge as Rider grabbed a 10-9 victory over Princeton (17-18). Sophomore Ken Kremer scored twice, compiling two RBIs. Kremer’s RBI single in the fifth gave Rider a 10-7 lead.
The Broncs also had a big day on the mound Wednesday, throwing hard in clutch positions.
“The bullpen also pitched great yesterday coming in after [Princeton] came back in the second inning,” Mawson said.
Freshman Eric Thomas had a strong performance on the mound, recording eight strikeouts in five scoreless innings. He came in after the starter, Senior Pat Devlin, gave up seven runs in two innings.
“Eric Thomas threw a great game yesterday,” Mawson said. “He has been put in some tough situations this year and once again he stepped up and did his job.”
The weekend presents another challenge for the Broncs, as they travel to Jersey City for a three-game conference series against Saint Peter’s (16-25, 7-5 MAAC). Rider is looking to capitalize on the first game to put them in contention.
“The important factor for this weekend is winning that first game,” Mawson said. “The first game sets the tone for the series.”
Solid offense and pitching are also key elements, according to Mawson.
“The offense just has to come up with some runs and the bullpen has to do their job when they are called on,” he said.
Minimalizing mistakes and producing runs will put Rider in a comfortable position at Saint Peter’s.
“As a team, we make too many mistakes that allow other teams to score more runs than they deserve,” junior Tyler Smith said. “We have the potential as a team to generate enough offense to win games, as well as the ability to hold teams to minimal runs and give us a chance to win.”
Winning this weekend will put the Broncs over .500 in the MAAC, a point that they hope to grow from as the season continues.