LAWRENCEVILLE—The Rider University softball team lost to Mercer County rival Princeton University 7-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Herb and Joan Young Field.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the first two innings.
Sophomore Monica Clark (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) had two of Rider’s five hits in the non-conference game and she scored both Bronc runs.
Princeton (6-17) had four hits in the opening inning, including an RBI double and run-scoring single to score three times.
Clark hit her second home run of the season, clearing the left field fence to get Rider (3-19) within 3-1 in the bottom of the first inning.
The Tigers used two singles and a three-run home run in the top of the second inning to open up a 6-1 lead and chase Bronc sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Kallert(Woodland Park/Passaic Valley). Kallert allowed seven hits and six earned runs in her two innings of work, while recording one strikeout.
“It’s a shame that one or two bad innings put us so far back,” said head coachJaci Timko. “It’s hard to always be fighting back. We need to find a way to get some runs across.”
Rider cut the deficit to 6-2 on a double play groundout, scoring Clark who had singled to right center field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning.
“Our approaches got better as the game went on,” Timko. “That’s a positive as we head toward conference play this weekend. We weren’t throwing away any at-bats.”
Princeton led off the top of the seventh inning with back to back hits, the last an RBI double for the final score.
Also for the Broncs, senior Kim Valdes (Jupiter, Fla./King's Academy) had a double, recording her 97th career hit and freshman Alexa Feliciano (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Oak Park) and junior Amanda Crimarco (Levittown, N.Y./Kellenberg) each singled.
This was the 60th meeting between Rider and Princeton with the Tigers winning for the 45th time.
Rider opens Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at Monmouth University on Saturday with the doubleheader beginning at 1pm. The Broncs return home on Sunday, April 3 against Saint Peter’s with the MAAC doubleheader also beginning at 1pm.
“We talk about each non-conference game is a day to get better before MAAC play begins,” Timko said. “It’s a harder practice and you learn from those pressure situations so when conference play starts, it makes those defensive plays that much easier to make and those at-bats just a little easier to handle. Bottom line is that we just need to execute.”