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Alabama Ends Rider’s Season

RUSTON, LA Frank Doelling (Riverside, NJ/Riverside) pitched 6.1 strong innings and Kyle Johnson (Jackson, NJ/Jackson Memorial) and Sean McGeehan(Hamilton, NJ/Nottingham) had two hits each, but the Rider University baseball team was edged by Alabama, 3-1, in an elimination game at the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Ruston Regional Saturday afternoon at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. With the loss, the Broncs conclude their season at 23-18, while the Crimson Tide (32-25) moves on to face the loser of top-seeded Louisiana Tech and second-seeded North Carolina State.

The Broncs immediately manufactured a run in the top of the first, with Johnson leading off with a double to right and coming around to score on groundouts from Jake Barbiere (Stratford, NJ/Sterling) and McGeehan. A walk and a two-out RBI double for Alabama in the second evened the score.

The two starting pitchers hung zeroes through the sixth, before Doelling issued a leadoff walk and was relieved by Cal Stalzer (West Des Moines, IA/Valley) with one out in the sixth. After Stalzer got a weak groundout to first, Alabama's William Hamiter hit a two-out, two-run home run to right that proved to be the difference.  

Quotes & Notes
"It was certainly good to get on top first and to be in the ballgame in the fourth and fifth inning. We gained confidence as the game went on. Kid hit a ball out and that's kind of the difference."

"I thought (Doelling) was the difference. Starting pitching is so critical to be successful, especially at the highest level and in the tournament. He comes out and he's able to pitch against an SEC club that certainly has the talent, the resources, they have a lot of things we don't have and he went out there and gutted it out, made pitches and we caught the ball behind him, too."   – Rider Head Coach Barry Davis

- Doelling took the loss, allowing two earned runs on three hits and five walks in 6.1 innings pitched. He struck out two.
- Stalzer was charged with one earned run on three hits in 0.2 innings.
- Joe Papeo (Matawan, NJ/Old Bridge) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, limiting the Crimson Tide to a hit and a walk.
- The Broncs were making their 14th NCAA Regional appearance, their first since 2010.
- The Broncs earned the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's automatic bid into NCAA's, marching through the MAAC Tournament with five-straight wins, including a 7-2 win in the MAAC Finals against then 37-2 Fairfield on the Stags' home field.

Broncs by the Numbers
- Johnson and McGeehan accounted for four of Rider's seven hits on the day. Both of Johnson's hits were doubles, as was one of McGeehan's.
- Barbiere, Lou Priolo (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern) and David Bermudez (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) added one hit each.
- Johnson scored the Broncs' lone run, with McGeehan picking up the RBI.
- Alabama starting pitcher Dylan Smith went the distance, scattering seven hits without walking or hitting a batter, striking out seven.