It was tough to tell which team entered this weekend's MAAC baseball series with a 19-10 overall record and 8-1 conference mark, and which team struggled to just one win in its first six league contest. Siena out-played defending MAAC Champion Rider for much of Saturday, suffering a hard-luck 3-2 loss in the opener, before coasting to a 12-7 win in the ugly nightcap.
Siena's win in game two snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Broncs.
The MAAC's All-Time home run king Dan Paolini homered in the opener, and had two hits, two RBI and three runs scored in the nightcap, continuing his torrid week at the plate.
Rider rode the left arm of senior Mike Thomas to victory in the opener. Thomas went eight innings and gave up just one run, striking out eight. Siena senior Kyle Sumple suffered another tough defeat. Sumple pitched 7.2 innings, and sacrificed just two earned runs while picking up seven strikeouts.
Siena grabbed the lead in the second inning of the opener when Kyle Baldani singled home Mike Fish. Rider tied the game in the third on Mason Heyne's RBI ground out, and took the lead on his RBI ground out in the fifth. Paolini's long homer tied the game in the sixth, but Heyne doubled home the game-winner in the seventh.
A.J. Albee had four hits for Rider in the first game, and Heyne drove in all three runs. Siena managed just five hits, but was very much in the game until the final out was recorded.
The Saints overcame five errors with 13 hits and 12 runs to cruise to an easy win in the second game.
The Saints grabbed command of the game with two runs in the first and three in the second. They added four in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. The late-inning runs proved important as Rider rallied mildly with a four-run fifth.
Justin Brantley started, and picked up the win, tossing five innings of three-hit ball. He did walk five batters, and allowed seven runs, but just four were earned.
The two teams will play the rubber game of this three-game set tomorrow at 11 a.m. The game was moved up an hour due to potentially inclement weather in the area.