LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA—Rider had the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning but that was as close as the Broncs could get in a loss at VMI Sunday.
“We’re pitching well enough to win,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, “we’re just not scoring runs. We have to hit with runners on base.”
Rider sophomore Paul Sparano (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief, striking out three. “Sparano looked like a closer today,” Davis said, “against a team that can swing the bat.”
With the win the Keydets (13-9) win the series two games to one.
Rider (2-14) committed three errors and left seven runners on base.
Sophomore Jake Bender (Ellicot, Md./Marriotts Ridge) doubled, went to third on a ground out and scored on a ground out by junior Dalton Mayberry (Chadds Ford, PA/Garnett Valley) in the fifth inning to give Rider a 1-0 lead. Mayberry also had one of Rider’s five hits.
An error, an RBI single and a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning gave VMI a 3-1 lead. The Keydets added an unearned run in the sixth on a throwing error for a 4-1 lead.
Sophomore CJ Hirschy (Toms River, NJ/Toms River East) pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out two. “Hirschy looked good through five innings,” Davis said.
Rider first-year junior Mike Volaski (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) had two hits, including a double. “Mike is starting to come around,” Davis said. “The way he hit the ball today was a good sign.”
Rider left five runners on base in the first two innings.
Rider is 2-8 all-time vs. VMI.
Rider hosts Rutgers Wednesday in the 2016 home opener. “That should be fun,” Davis said. “It will be nice to get home. This was the longest road trip we’ve taken in four years.”