By Ryan Connelly
This season has been a strikeout so far for the baseball team, which has lost seven of its first 11 games. Currently, Rider is on a four-game losing streak, after being swept by Miami University (Ohio) and a loss to Lafayette. The Broncs’ last win was against Delaware State on Feb. 26.
March 2 was the start of the three-game series between Rider and Miami.
In the first game, Miami defeated Rider, 5-1. Starting on the mound was freshman Joe Papeo. He had a rough start, allowing two runs in the first two innings. Papeo was pulled with one out left in the bottom of the sixth, after allowing another run.
Relieving him was junior Anthony Arneth, who got the last out in the sixth, but let up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Broncs showed life when senior outfielder Harrison McClure had a base hit, bringing home senior infielder Jake Bender. After the RedHawks had a scoreless eighth inning, they still had a 5-1 advantage over the Broncs. Rider’s bats were not hot enough to do anything in the ninth, losing the first game against Miami.
The second game was played on March 3. The Broncs fell 2-1. Sophomore pitcher Peter Soporowski started for the Rider. Soporowski had a good outing, only allowing three hits and striking out five in seven innings. He was named MAAC Pitcher of the Week on March 6.
“Pete competed at a high level this past weekend, matching his opponents skill and ability,” said Head Coach Barry Davis. “He was sharp from the start, pitching a tremendous ballgame and giving our team a chance to win.”
In the top of the ninth, senior outfielder Dallas Clark singled up the middle bringing home junior catcher Brennan McAllister, giving Rider the lead, 1-0. However, in the bottom of the ninth, Miami’s Hayden Senger doubled to right center, bringing in Dallas Hall and Cristian Tejada for a walk-off win against Rider.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Silverman ended the game, allowing two runs and four hits. Sophomore outfielder Joe Simone was a key player, going 2-for-4 at the plate.
After already winning the series, Miami did not hold back. They shut Rider out, 6-0. The RedHawks almost scored all of their runs in the bottom of the fourth. Junior pitcher Zach Gakeler started for Broncs and was doing well up until the fourth.
Through three innings Gakeler didn’t allow a run, but in the bottom of the fourth, it went downhill. Gakeler was pulled with one out left and ended the game having allowed five hits, five runs and walked three.
Junior pitcher CJ Hirschy pitched three full innings and allowed no runs, three hits with one strikeout. Miami scored a run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 6-0. In the top of the ninth, the RedHawks ended the game on a double play securing the sweep against the Broncs.
“As a team there is always something we are going to need to improve on,” said Simone. “As of right now, we need to focus more on the little things that coach teaches us..”
Rider looks to break out of its slump against Navy the weekend of March 9. The Broncs’ first home game of the season is on March 21 against Rutgers.