LAWRENVILLE—The Rider University softball team was swept in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader against Siena College on Saturday afternoon at Herb and Joan Young Field.
“We came out with a good approach and got some runs on the board,” said head coach Jaci Timko. “We competed but it was little things here and there (defense and base running) that caused the losses. It was two hard fought games.”
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Rider cut the deficit to two runs when senior Montana Berg (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) singled with juniorJosettee Spencer (Hillsborough) scoring from second on an error by the Siena catcher. Spencer led off the inning with a single, and also tripled in game two for four hits on the day.
Rider had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth and the bottom of the seventh innings but the Siena third baseman made two diving plays with a runner on third to end each inning.
Siena took a 1-0, first inning lead in game two on a two out single, passed ball and RBI single and the Saints took advantage of two Rider errors in the top of the second inning, hitting a two out, two-run single to open up a three-run advantage.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Kallert (Woodland Park/Passaic Valley) went the distance for Rider, allowing seven hits and no earned runs.
“Kaitlyn threw well,” Timko said. “We are asking a lot out of her and we need the defense behind her to step up and execute. We do have some players playing out of position so I know that will take some time to get the kinks out but at the same time we need to do a better job.”
Also for Rider in game two, senior Kim Valdes (Jupiter, Fla./King’s Academy) doubled as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.
In the opener, Siena College used a single, sacrifice bunt, RBI double and a sacrifice fly to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the seventh inning as the Saints won 7-5.
Rider had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning but had a runner thrown out at third base during a walk.
With two outs in the first inning, Siena hit a two-run home run to take an early lead and extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single in the top of the second inning.
Trailing 3-0, Rider got to within 3-2 in the bottom of the third inning on back to back RBI singles from sophomore Toni Nino (Adelanto, Calif./Silverado) and Spencer. Nino had three of Rider’s 10 hits in the first game.
“We are really starting to get solid production from the top of the line up,” Timko said. “Monica (Clark) sets the tone then we follow up with speed (Toni and JoJo) and then we have our seniors (Dana, Montana and Kim) have opportunities to hit them in.”
An RBI single and sacrifice fly gave the Saints a 5-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Senior Dana Sensi (Allentown) walked with the bases loaded cutting the Bronc deficit to two runs and Berg followed with a two-run single to tie the game 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Also for Rider in game one, sophomore Monica Clark (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) had three hits including a double and scored twice and Berg celebrated her birthday week with two hits in the opener and three hits on the day.
Junior Megan Ailand (Burlingame, Calif./Burlingame) went all seven innings for Rider, scattering nine hits.
Rider hosts Marist College on Sunday in a MAAC doubleheader, beginning at 1pm.
“Sunday is going to be tough,” Timko added. “We need to try and score early and obviously make all the plays. Marist (over 30 wins) is a very good team and we can’t make any mistakes against a team like that.”