Rider University 7, Fairfield University 6
Fairfield University 13, Rider University 1
FAIRFIELD, CT—The Broncs split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday to win the series. “We are very glad that we won the series,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “We just wanted to compete a bit better in the final game.”
In the first game sophomore Christian Estevez (River Edge, NJ/River Dell) collected his third hit of the game in the seventh inning and scored on an error to give Rider a 7-6 lead. “He swung the bat and with two outs he got a big hit when the game was tied at 6-6,” Davis said.
Sophomore Paul Sparano (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) pitched a scoreless, hitless seventh inning for the save, his second. “He looked good,” Davis said. “He got a couple of strikeouts and a fly out.”
Fairfield tied the score at 6-6 in the sixth inning on a single, sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.
Rider took a 6-5 lead with two runs in the sixth inning when Estevez doubled and scored on a wild pitch and junior Lee Lipinski (Glen Arm, MD/Calvert) drew a bases loaded walk, the day after hitting a grand slam. “We were down a couple of times but showed some grit coming back,” Davis said.
Lipinski had three hits Friday and two more hits Saturday. “He had a good weekend,” Davis said.
Rider (7-18, 2-4 MAAC) cut the lead to 5-4 in the fourth inning when junior Mike Volaski (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) doubled and sophomore Jake Bender (Ellicot, Md./Marriotts Ridge) and freshman Riley Mihalik (Churchville, PA/Chestnut Hill) hit RBI singles.
Junior Dalton Mayberry (Chadds Ford, PA/Garnett Valley) hit a two-run home run to give Rider a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Mayberry had a hit in each of the three games at Fairfield. “We moved him up to the two-hole and he did a good job,” Davis said.
Fairfield scored four runs in the third inning on five hits, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch to take a 5-2 lead.
Fairfield scored a run in the first inning on a pair of walks, a single and a fielder’s choice.
Rider junior Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) pitched five innings and left the game with a 6-5 lead. “I feel comfortable with our three starters getting us six innings,” Davis said. “Today Vinny was okay. At times he looks like he is really going to be good. Today he had too many walks (five).”
Sophomore Brian Uliana (Bethlehem, PA/Freedom) had three hits on Saturday and five in the series. “He had some good at bats today,” Davis said. “Our lineup is coming around.”
In the second game Fairfield (7-15, 1-2 MAAC) scored two runs on three hits in the fifth inning to take a 5-1 lead. The Stags added three runs in the sixth inning to make the score 8-1, added two more in the seventh for a 10-1 lead and added three in the eighth for the final score.
Volaski doubled and scored on a pair of ground outs to cut the lead to 3-1 in the second inning. “Volaski had some good at bats again today,” Davis said.
Fairfield scored three runs in the first inning on four hits.
The Broncs swept the three-game series with Fairfield at Rider last year. Rider and Fairfield did not meet in 2014. In 2013 the Broncs won the series two games to one at Rider.
Rider and Fairfield have met 69 times since the series began in 1956 with Rider winning 46, including 10 of the last 13.
Rider will host Lehigh Tuesday at 3:30pm in the second round of the Liberty Bell Classic. ”We win that one and we go to Citizen’s Bank Park,” Davis said about advancing to the Title Game for the second year in a row. “That’s the reason why we got into that tournament, to play mid-week games that have more importance to them.”