By J.J. Santagata
The baseball team lost two games but picked up a win in the first of three games against defending MAAC Champion Canisius on April 16 and 17.
Rider (11-22, 3-6 MAAC) had another strong performance from sophomore starting pitcher Nick Margevicius, who struck out eight in 6.2 innings to give Rider the win.
Unfortunately for the Broncs, Canisius (18-17, 8-4 MAAC) won the second and third games by scores of 1-0 and 15-5, respectively.
“We’re not playing badly, we’re just not doing the little things that need to be done to win some of these close games,” Margevicius said.
In the first game of the series, Rider jumped on Canisius early in the first inning, gaining a 2-0 lead after junior designated hitter Tyler Kaiser knocked an RBI double with two outs and after scored on junior third baseman Mike Volaski’s single.
The Golden Griffins came back and put a run on the board making it 3-1 Rider. In the bottom of the fourth, a leadoff single and stolen base by senior outfielder James Locklear put the Broncs in scoring position. Sophomore outfielder Brian Uliana reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Locklear and made it 4-1 Rider.
Rider’s strong pitching helped it get out of trouble. When junior pitcher Josh Sharik came into the game with runners on and two outs. He struck out Canisius first baseman Ryan Stekl to get out of the inning. After Canisius scored one run in the seventh, Rider answered quickly. Junior outfielder Dalton Mayberry led off the inning with a double down the third baseline. After two straight walks, the bases were loaded with Volaski up. He was hit by a pitch to bring in Mayberry, making it 5-2 Rider.
Rider’s bullpen received strong relief from Sharik who pitched 1.1 innings allowing one run and striking out three. Sophomore Paul Sparano came in and closed the door, earning Sparano his third save of the season.
In game two, junior Vincenzo Aiello threw a complete game, allowing one hit, and striking out seven, but allowing one run that would prove to be the difference. He was outdueled by Canisius freshman pitcher Nolan Hunt allowed two hits through six innings and did not allow a run, as the Broncs dropped game two 1-0.
“We definitely fought throughout the game,” Aiello said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher because he threw a great game as well. In games like that, every play is magnified and sometimes you come up short, that’s just the game we play.”
Game three was all Canisius, as the Broncs fell 15-5. Starting pitcher sophomore C. J. Hirschy took the loss on Sunday when he lasted just 1.2 innings while allowing four runs. He was replaced by freshman Anthony Arneth, who came in for Hirschy and allowed two runs while striking out three. Junior Mike Diorio came in with one out in the fifth inning and gave up on the three hits.
Rider’s bats just could not get going this game, as the team did not score until the bottom of the sixth inning off of Mayberry’s RBI single, scoring Uliana. Mayberry tallied two RBIs in Sunday’s loss making that his sixteenth RBI this season. Also sophomore infielder Christian Estevez had an RBI for the Broncs, his eighth of the season. Volaski tallied a single in the third game loss to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Head Coach Barry Davis said that the bright spots from this weekend were Margevicius and Aiello, who combined for only one earned run allowed in their 13.2 innings pitched.
“We received two great pitching performances from Margevicius and Aiello. Wasted one of them with no offensive production plus the inability to make routine plays. Overall, I’m dissatisfied and we need to do better or find someone who can, ” Davis said.
Rider dropped two out of the three games this weekend, making their record 11-22.
The Broncs will have a shot to readjust themselves when they host local rival Princeton (13-18, 9-2 Ivy League) on April 20 at 3:30 p.m. They will continue their conference schedule on the road against Niagara (10-23-1, 6-6 MAAC) in a three-game series on April 23 and 24.