By Brandon Scalea
Heading into the three-game set against St. Peter’s on April 8, the baseball team had come up short in its previous two conference series. Three wins and 50 runs later, Rider is back in the middle of the MAAC standings.
The Broncs scored 15, 28 and 7 runs, respectively, in one of their greatest offensive outputs in recent history. Notably, the team poured on 28 wins in just a seven-inning contest.
From March 25 to April 2, Rider was on a five-game losing streak. The team has since responded with five consecutive victories.
Junior shortstop Jake Bender said the team spent the last week working on hitting and getting more runs across the plate.
“We were looking to bounce back from the losses against Iona,” he said. “We were focused throughout the week at practice because we knew we needed three wins to get us back into the mix. This weekend we were all locked in at the plate and we had some good team at-bats.”
The victorious week started with a non-conference game against New Jersey Institute of Technology. Rider won that one convincingly, 8-1.
Bender had a three-hit game that featured a long home run over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the fifth inning. The three-run shot blew the game open, giving Rider a 6-0 lead. Bender also added two runs. Four other Broncs had multi-hit efforts.
Sophomore relief pitcher Anthony Arneth picked up the win with two scoreless innings.
On April 8, Rider opened its three-game series in Jersey City against the winless St. Peter’s Peacocks. The first game was a sign of things to come, as Rider dominated from start to finish, 15-1.
Senior catcher Lee Lipinski and senior first baseman Tyler Kaiser combined for seven hits in eight at-bats, scoring three runs apiece. The pair also added four RBI.
The Broncs struck early and often. After just three innings, the visitors led 8-0. The Peacocks got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, but Rider answered right back with four more runs, essentially putting the game away. Junior left-hander Nick Margevicius tossed six scoreless innings and picked up the win.
Senior pitcher Mike Diorio said Rider’s pitching was just as strong as its offensive play.
“All weekend, we played solid defense and our pitching was able to do the job,” he said. “Scoring a lot of runs takes the pressure off us.”
Things didn’t get much better for St. Peter’s on day two of the series. In the first game of the doubleheader, Rider scored a season-high 28 runs, including 12 runs in the first two innings. The Broncs also had 26 hits, another season high.
Kaiser got the Broncs going early with a three-run shot over the right-field fence. He went 2-for-3 in the game with two runs and four RBI. Senior third baseman Mike Volaski added four RBI of his own on three hits.
In game three of the series, St. Peter’s was dominated again, falling to 0-15. Rider won that one, 7-0. In his MAAC debut, freshman pitcher John Yocum hurled seven innings, allowing no runs and only five hits.
The series sweep pushed the Broncs to 13-15 overall and 5-4 in conference play. They will host Wagner in a non-conference game on April 12 at 3:30 p.m. Rider then hosts Niagara in a three-game series beginning on April 14.