By Austin Boland-Ferguson
Struggles continued for the baseball team as they were swept at Quinnipiac, losing all three games in the MAAC matchup, 16-9, 7-1 and 15-4 and were defeated by Lafayette, 15-0.
The Broncs traveled to Hamden, Connecticut, on April 27 to take on Quinnipiac in a weekend set, starting with a doubleheader.
In the first of the two games, both teams went back and forth with their bats. In the top of the seventh, Rider loaded the bases for junior outfielder Jack Peterson.
Trailing by two, Peterson blasted a grand slam, bringing in all three runners and himself to push the Broncs to a 9-7 lead. Peterson’s home run was his fourth of the season and his first grand slam with the Broncs.
“I just wanted to put together a good at bat,” Peterson said. “I was trying to see more pitches, I found my pitch and I hit it out.”
The Bobcats answered quickly, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh, followed by four more runs in the eighth to secure the 16-9 victory.
Sophomore pitcher Vincent Vitacco took the loss on the mound in game one for Rider, letting up seven earned runs on eight hits and five walks. The loss was the sixth of the season for Vitacco.
The second half of the doubleheader was a rough one for the Broncs. Quinnipiac’s offense was steady throughout, putting up seven runs in seven innings.
Rider did not have the same fortunes at the plate, amassing only one hit throughout the game off the bat of junior outfielder Sebastian Williamson, which also drove in the only run of the game for the Broncs.
Starting pitching was again unsuccessful for Rider as sophomore Joe Papeo remained winless on the season with his fourth loss, letting up six runs on six hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Due to inclement weather, the final game of the series that was originally supposed to take place on April 28 instead took place on April 29. The day of rest did not help the Broncs’ efforts.
Rider’s bats looked to keep up with Quinnipiac early. After a Bobcats’ home run in the bottom of the first, singles from junior infielder Zach Fick and freshman infielder David Bermudez knotted the game at two runs a piece in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the second, however, a wild pickoff attempt from freshman Andrew Imperatore would bring a runner home to give Quinnipiac a one-run edge.
The Bobcats wouldn’t look back, scoring 12 runs in the next six innings, highlighted by a five-run sixth inning.
The Broncs’ bats couldn’t keep up, only managing to add two more runs to their total, both in the ninth inning.
Rider came home to Sonny Pittaro Field on April 30 to take on Lafayette, where defensive shortcomings were once again the early difference maker in the game.
Freshman pitcher Colin Eiser, despite allowing just two runs, committed three errors and a balk in three innings of work, mistakes that proved costly to the Broncs.
Lafayette didn’t stop there, scoring another 13 runs throughout the contest, highlighted by a seven-run effort in the top of the fifth inning.
On the offensive side of things, Rider’s batters were able to get four hits, but were unable to score as they were shutout, 15-0.
The loss was the 10th in a row for Rider and Head Coach Barry Davis pointed to defensive issues as responsible for the string of bad games.
“We made too many mistakes with the walks and the errors,” Davis said. “The competitive phase of the game ended in the fifth inning.”
After the Broncs’ loss to Lafayette, they sit with an overall record of 13-31, with a 4-12 record in the MAAC, putting them in 10th place in the conference.
Rider will travel to Piscataway on May 1 to take on Rutgers at 3 p.m., followed by a weekend home series against Manhattan at Sonny Pittaro Field on May 4 at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and May 5 at 12 p.m.
Rider’s game against Rutgers can be viewed on BTN Plus and all games against Manhattan can be viewed on ESPN+.