Sophomore Matt Gage pitched Siena to a comfortable 7-4 win over Rider in the opener, but the Saints defense let them down in an 8-2 loss in game two, leaving the two teams tied atop the MAAC standings.
The two teams will play the final game of their three-game weekend set Sunday at noon with the winner taking over sole possession of first place in the league.
Gage was an iron man in the opener, throwing 148 pitches in eight innings of work. He allowed four runs, three earned, struck out six, and walked just one. After giving up a pair of runs in the eighth, he dug deep to strike out the final man he faced. Junior Neil Fryer took over from there, working a 1-2-3 ninth to lock down his school-record 17th career save.
The Saints got plenty of offense, most coming from the long ball.
Brian Fay tripled home the first run of the game in the second, and John Rooney's RBI grounder put Siena up 2-0. Mike Allen's third home run of the season gave the Saints a 4-0 lead in the fourth, and after Rider got two runs back, Andres Ortiz doubled home a run and Mike Fish followed with a two-run homer that made it 7-2.
Rider out-hit Siena 12-8 in game one, with Jerry Mulderig leading the way with a 3-for-4 performance. Rooney and Allen each had two hits for Siena.
The Broncs never trailed in the second game, taking advantage of four Siena errors to score four unearned runs. The Saints had six errors on the day, compared to just one for Rider.
With the second game tied 1-1, the Broncs struck for three runs on just two hits in the fourth. The Saints loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, but after getting ahead 3-0 in the count, Allen hit into an inning-ending double play. Rider added a run in the fifth, a run without a hit in the sixth, and put the game away with two runs in the seventh.
Mike Murphy improved to 5-4 for Rider, pitching five innings and allowing just three hits and two runs (one earned). Greg Fazio was the offensive star, finishing 3-for-3 with four RBI.
Siena used four pitchers, but none were on top of their game.