NIAGARA FALLS, NY – The sixth-seeded Rider University baseball team fell to No. 4 Iona, 5-2, on Friday morning in an elimination game as part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Baseball Championships at Sal Maglie Stadium. The Broncs (24-28-1) see their season come to an end, while the Gaels (23-25) advance to play No. 3 Canisius in another elimination game later today.
Rider opened the scoring in the top of the first thanks to an RBI groundout from senior Tyler Kaiser (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown). The Broncs would add another run in the second to stretch their lead to two courtesy of two-out, run-scoring single through the left side by Richie Tecco (Drexel Hill, PA/Monsignor Bonner).
Iona would answer in the bottom half of the second with a single and charge back to take their first lead of the contest with a four-run outburst in the fourth. In the frame, the Gaels took advantage of a pair of Rider errors and smacked three two-out hits.
Rider threatened in the eighth putting the first two runners on before a fielder's choice and then a double play would end the inning.
Offensively, freshman leadoff hitter Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) and Tecco led the charge for the Broncs. The pair combined for five of the team's six hits. Johnson went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Tecco was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Kaiser accounted for the other Bronc run with his groundout in the first.
On the mound, freshman Pete Soporowski (South Amboy, NJ/Sayreville War Memorial) got the start for the Broncs and tossed 3.2 innings in a losing effort. He scattered seven hits and allowed five runs (just one of which was earned). He tied his career-high with six strikeouts, while surrendering a pair of walks.
NOTES & QUOTES
“If you go through our games throughout the year, one I don't think we hit enough and two we had trouble putting an end to an inning that could potentially be bad,” Rider Head Coach Barry Davis said. "Like, today I thought we would score more than two runs and we gave up four unearned runs in the fourth. I was told years ago that 68 percent of all college games played the winning team scores more in one inning than the losing team scores all game. And that happened today."
"I thought Sharik was good," Davis added. "He did exactly what he has done when he's been good. He gave us three innings to keep us in it. Silverman was solid, got the lefty out and fielded the swinging bunt attempt well."
"I'm disappointed for the seniors," Davis concluded.
- Soporowski retired the side in order in the first and he set down the first four hitters he faced. He also struck out two batters in the first, second and fourth innings.
- In relief, Josh Sharik pitched three scoreless innings for the Broncs. He scattered four hits and walked one. It was the 102nd appearance of his career.
- Jordan Silverman tossed 1.1 innings of no-hit, scoreless relief for the Broncs. He picked off the lone runner that reached base after a walk.
- Harrison McClure recorded the other Bronc hit, a single through the right side in the eighth.
- The Broncs scored first in all three of their MAAC Tournament games, thanks to plating four runs in the first inning total (three in game one and one today).
- Rider is the only lower seeded team to win thus far in the MAAC Tournament after topping No. 5 seed Manhattan on Thursday evening.
- Nick Margevicius earned First Team All-MAAC honors on Tuesday evening as announced by the league office. He earned conference-wide distinction for the second year in a row and he was the only Bronc to be named to an All-MAAC team in 2017.
- Rider placed nine student-athletes on the 2017 MAAC Baseball All-Academic Team. It marked the fifth straight year that the Broncs saw nine or more players recognized for their work in the classroom.
BRONCS BY THE NUMBERS
- Tecco's RBI in the second was his ninth with two outs this spring. It also marked his 13th multi-hit game of 2017.
- Johnson's multi-hit game was his team-leading 19th of the season. He led off both the first and third innings with singles. It was also the fourth three-hit game of his career (three of which have come against MAAC opponents).
- Lee Lipinski threw out his 24th runner attempting to steal this season in the third inning. It was his fourth runner caught stealing in the MAAC Tournament.
- Kaiser now leads the team with 36 RBIs this spring. It is a new career-high for the senior.
- Johnson is now third on the team with 31 runs scored.
- Rider was 1-of-9 with runners in scoring position.