Rider Escapes Baseball, 8-7
March 9, 2011
FLEMINGTON, N.J. - The Lafayette baseball team pounded 13 hits while allowing just four against Rider on Wednesday, but the Broncs capitalized on three Leopards' errors en route to an 8-7 win.
The Leopards now stand at 2-5. Rider, the 2010 MAAC Tournament Champion, evens its record at 4-4. The Broncs were the home team in the neutral-site contest, which was held at Diamond Nation in Flemington, N.J.
Senior designated hitter A.J. Miller continued his hot start to the 2011 season, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and three runs batted in. Through seven games, Miller is batting .444 with 12 RBI, including nine with two outs. He has seven extra-base hits and eight runs scored.
Junior shortstop Brian Davila went 3-for-5 with two RBI out of the leadoff spot. Freshman centerfielder Andrew Santomauro and junior left fielder Bobby Fargnoli also picked up an RBI apiece. Santomauro went 2-for-4 and also recorded a pair of stolen bases.
Sophomore left-hander Michael Massa started for the Leopards and tossed three perfect innings. Freshman southpaw Connor Ortolf (0-1) took the loss, surrendering one hit - the home run that proved to be the game-winner - in 1.1 innings of work.
Massa was dominant in his three innings of work, mowing down all nine Broncs he faced on 35 pitches. Junior right-hander Ethan Perro followed with a hitless fourth frame, but the Leopards - despite having a baserunner in each of the first four innings, were held scoreless as well.
The stalemate was broken in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore catcher Thomas Dunleavy started the action with a one-out single and moved into scoring position on a Santomauro groundout. After Dunleavy took third on a wild pitch, Davila brought him the final 90 feet with a single through the left side of the infield. Senior right fielder Alex Bechta legged out an infield hit to extend the inning, and sophomore first baseman Scott Kelleher was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Miller cashed in on the two-out chance with a double down the right field line that cleared the bases and put the Leopards on top, 4-0.
The Lafayette advantage was short-lived, however, as Rider got its first hit to lead off the bottom of the fifth and went on to score seven runs in the frame. The Broncs had just three hits in the inning, but three walks, a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error kept the inning alive as Rider claimed a 7-4 edge.
The Leopards cut the deficit to a single run in their next at-bat, with two-baggers from Santomauro and Davila each bringing home a run. After Ortolf threw a scoreless sixth inning, Lafayette pulled even in the seventh. Miller's one-out double set the table, and the co-captain of the Leopards came home with the equalizing run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Fargnoli.
Rider had an answer once again, however, as Steve Galella homered down the left field line in the bottom of the inning to put the Broncs back on top, 8-7.
Chris Taylor (1-1) earned the win for Rider with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Smith posted his second save with a zero in the ninth.
Lafayette returns to the diamond over 3,000 miles away from College Hill in Northridge, Calif. A weekend series with Cal State Northridge and another four-game set at Cal State Bakersfield will comprise the Leopards' annual spring trip.
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