By Carlos Toro
Rider lost four games last week to extend its losing skid to nine, losing two doubleheaders to Norfolk State (9-13, 3-0 MEAC) on March 20, and to Columbia on March 23.
The Broncs (2-13) lost to Columbia 7-4 in the first game, followed by a 5-1 loss in the second game.
The first game against Columbia (9-9) opened with the Lions scoring four runs on six hits in the first inning. The Broncs responded in the third inning with a double to left field by junior Amanda Irving that scored the first two of three runs in the third inning.
Rider’s starting pitcher for game one, freshman Kaitlyn Kallert, allowed three more earned runs in the third and fourth innings. That was enough for Head Coach Tricia Carroll to call it a day for Kallert and bring in freshman Megan Ailand in relief.
Although she only allowed two hits in three innings of work, it was not enough, as Rider managed to score only one run for the rest of the game.
In the second game, things did not look up for Rider.
Rider opened the second game with senior second baseman Kehli Washington scoring, thanks to an error by the Columbia defense.
Columbia responded afterward when its senior left fielder Emily Snodgrass hit a sacrifice fly to center, which allowed junior Kayla Shimoda to score from third.
Rider’s hitting was almost nonexistent as it could only muster up two more hits.
Washington knows that the Broncs need hits if the team wants to find success.
“We need to make sure we jump on the first good pitch, stay relaxed and hit the ball,” said Washington.
Sophomore pitcher Montana Berg allowed four earned runs from the fourth inning through the sixth as they lost 5-1.
Junior catcher Allysen Breeden, who had a hit on seven plate appearances for both games, thinks that some of the team’s struggles were because of its approach at the plate.
“We were not as aggressive at the plate as we need to be,” said Breeden. “We need to hit early in the count so we don’t have to leave it up to the umpire.”
Rider’s recent struggles have come by losing close games. Four of its last five losses were decided by three runs or less.
“Winning the close games comes from getting that timely hit,” she said. “For us, lately we just haven’t been able to get that timely hit and put the runs up.”
The Broncs will have a chance to snap the streak when they play Army in a doubleheader at West Point, N.Y., on March 27.
“We use these games to work out pitching rotation, batting order and the defense,” Carroll said. “The weather has taken a few of these opportunities, but we will be ready for our home opener and the start of the MAAC season on Sunday.”