NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY—The Broncs split a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader at Niagara Saturday. “We got excellent starting pitching today,” said Rider head coachBarry Davis.
In the second game senior James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) had three hits and a pair of RBI. He now has 164 career hits, 35th most ever at Rider. “Lock had a big game,” Davis said. “He had a good day.”
Junior Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, NY/Tottenville) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on six hits and a walk while striking out four. “Vinnie was pretty strong from the get-go,” Davis said. “He was in the zone and he attacked it.”
It was his fourth complete game of the season. Aiello has allowed just two earned runs in his last 24 innings.
Locklear hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to give Rider a 5-1 lead. He hit another RBI single in the sixth inning for a 7-1 lead.
Sophomore Dallas Clark (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) hit an RBI single to give Rider a 3-0 lead and sophomore Jake Bender (Ellicot, Md./Marriotts Ridge) followed with a sac fly for a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning. “We got ahead,” Davis said. “That was key.”
Bender walked, stole second and scored on an RBI double by junior Tyler Kaiser(Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) to give Rider a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
A walk, a single by Locklear, an error and a sacrifice fly by Clark gave Rider a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Junior Mike Volaski (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) collected two hits in the second game, including an RBI single, but his 14 game hitting streak came to an end in the first game.
In the first game Rider (12-24, 4-7 MAAC) got just two hits and committed three errors. “You can’t kick the ball around and not put up hits,” Davis said. “We had more errors than hits.”
Junior Lee Lipinski (Glen Arm, MD/Calvert) led off the seventh inning with a double, Rider’s first hit of the game. “We rallied a bit in the last inning,” Davis said.
Niagara (12-25, 7-7 MAAC) took a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning on a double and a sacrifice fly.
Niagara took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an error, a single, a stolen base and an RBI sacrifice bunt, and a 2-0 lead in the second on another error and an RBI double.
The Broncs wasted a great effort from sophomore Nick Margevicius (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Ignatius), who pitched eight innings and allowed just one earned run while striking out six without allowing a walk. “Niagara probably should not have scored in the first game,” Davis said. “The run that was earned was a sac fly to second base. We had the infield in and he had to go back to get the ball and fell down.”
Rider and Niagara did not meet last year. In 2014 Niagara took two of three games form the Broncs at Rider.
The last time Rider traveled to Niagara, the Broncs won all three games in 2013.
Rider and Niagara have now met 51 times since the series began in 1997, with Rider winning 35.
The third game of the series is Sunday at 12 noon, also at Niagara. “Coming up here our backs were getting close to the wall,” Davis said. “They are still close so tomorrow is a big game for us.”