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Strong Pitching, Timely Hitting Lead Baseball Past Rider

Chris Boyce fired two hitless innings of relief

March 6, 2012

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EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette baseball team opened Kamine Stadium for the 2012 season on Tuesday with a 6-3 win over visiting Rider. The Leopards got home runs from Scott Kelleher and Brad Hopek, and five pitchers had a hand in the winning effort.

With the victory, Lafayette improves to 3-5. The Broncs fall to 3-6.

Kelleher's solo shot to lead off the second inning was his first of the season, while Hopek's bases-empty blast was his second. Kelleher added a single and a stolen base and scored two runs. Thomas Dunleavy also had two hit for the Leopards, including an RBI single. Andrew Santomauro drove in two runs with a two-out single in the second frame, and Parker Hills notched an RBI single as well. Brian Davila hammered a double and Zach Gross singled to round out the Lafayette offensive effort.

Derek Gussaroff worked the first three innings of a scheduled "staff game" to earn the win. Gussaroff (2-1) scattered two hits and three walks while striking out two in his three scoreless frames of work. Chris Boyce followed with two hitless innings of relief as the Leopards built a 5-0 advantage. After southpaws Sean McGrath and Jack Rems combined for 2.2 frames on the hill, Jeff Snell recorded the last four outs to earn his second save of the spring.

Rider starter Tim Hogan (0-1) allowed five earned runs on eight hits and a walk in 2.2 innings to take the loss. Hogan struck out two batters and walked one.

The Leopards started the scoring in the second inning with Kelleher's leadoff homer. Back-to-back one-out singles from Gross and Dunleavy kept the pressure on Hogan, which was intensified with Rob Caliento dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move both baserunners over. Santomauro followed with a single to left field that plated Gross and Dunleavy to put Lafayette on top, 3-0.

Kelleher's jump started the offense once again in the next inning with a one-out base hit. After the junior third baseman stole second base, Hills drove him in with a single. After Hills took second on a balk, Dunleavy's second single of the afternoon brought him home and chased Hogan from the game, trailing 5-0.

Rider climbed back with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, but Hopek's seventh-inning solo jack over the right field wall extended the Leopards' advantage back to 6-2.

The Broncs made a final run in the eighth inning, cutting the lead to 6-3 and bringing the tying run to the plate. At that point, the Leopards turned to Snell, who got the strikeout to get out of the inning and pitched around a leadoff double in the ninth to slam the door on the 6-3 Lafayette triumph.

Action returns to Kamine Stadium on Friday, March 9 when the Leopards welcome Fairleigh Dickinson to College Hill at 2:30 p.m. The series concludes with a Saturday doubleheader in Teaneck, N.J., which starts up a seven-game road swing for Lafayette.