Rider completes dream baseball season

Rider completes dream baseball season

The Rider University baseball team used a late-season run to make this the most memorable of baseball seasons. And there were several members from the seven-county South Jersey area who contributed along the way. 

The Broncs were an underdog as was every other team against top seeded Fairfield in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament, where the winner would earn an automatic NCAA bid.

Rider won five straight games in the MAAC tourney, including a 7-2 championship victory over top seeded Fairfield, which entered the game 37-2. 

In winning, the Broncs earned the 14th NCAA Regional appearance, but the program’s first since 2010. 

In the championship win at Fairfield, senior right fielder Lou Priolo, from Eastern, hit a key two-run home run in the fourth inning, extending the Broncs’ lead to 5-1. 

Rider got off to a rough starting the NCAA Regional, losing its first game 18-2 to host Louisiana Tech

One of the bright spots for Rider was Priolo, who had one of the two RBI. 

Priolo made 34 starts this season for the Broncs, hitting .254 with one home run and 17 RBI. 

Rider then was much more competitive in the next game, but was eliminated from the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Alabama. 

Frank Doelling, a junior lefthander from Riverside and Rowan College at Burlington County, pitched well for Rider, but earned the loss. Doelling allowed just three hits and two earned runs in  6 ? innings. He struck out two and walked five. 

This season Doelling was a valuable member of the staff. He started 10 games and was 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA. In 57 ? innings he struck out 56. He ranked 16th nationally with four complete games. 

At Riverside he earned a school-record 21 wins and 1.70 ERA. He also set a school record with 295 career strikeouts. 

Besides Priolo and Doelling, there were several other players from the seven-county South Jersey area on Rider’s team.

Junior righthander Kyle Smith from Sterling was 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in seven appearances. 

Sophomore infielder Jack Winsett from Eastern appeared in 24 games, making 14 starts. 

Sophomore infielder-outfielder Scott Shaw of Cherry Hill West started 29 games and hit .255 with three home runs and 15 RBI. 

Sophomore pitcher-first baseman Jake Andrey from Cherry Hill’s Kings Christian School, was 2-2 with a 5.84 ERA.

Guided by long-time coach Barry Davis, the Broncs finished 23-18. 

With so many key returning performers, Rider should be a factor next season after this year’s run to the NCAAs.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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