Top-seed Rider rode the left arm of Tyler Smith to a decisive 7-1 win over Siena on Opening Day in the MAAC Championships Thursday night in Trenton, N.J. The Saints will face No. 2 seed Marist in an elimination game Friday at 3 p.m.
The start of Thursday's game was delayed two hours after the first game between Marist and Canisius was pushed back due to rain.
Smith worked seven strong innings, allowing just one unearned run and five hits while striking out nine. He worked out of several jams throughout the night, keeping the Saints off the scoreboard until the outcome was already settled.
The Saints faltered in nearly all aspects of play, struggling to one of their poorest performances of the season at the worst time. They had three errors, left nine men on base, went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and made several base-running blunders. Rider took full advantage.
The Broncs scored in five of the first six innings against Siena ace Matt Gage, jumping out to a 6-0 lead.
Adam Wayman doubled home Ian Lindsay in the first and third innings for the game's first two runs. Nick Crescenzo tripled to lead off the fourth, and scored on Greg Fazio's grounder to third when Brian Fay's throw home hit off his helmet. James Locklear reached on Mike Allen's fielding error to lead off the fifth and scored when Allen's throw home got past catcher Larry Balkwill later in the inning. When the dust settled, the Broncs had firm command and Gage gave way to Matt Quintana an inning later.
Gage's final line included nine hits allowed and four earned runs in 5.1 innings, but he struck out seven, surpassing John Lannan's single-season strikeout record (now has 88).
Allen had two of Siena's six hits and was robbed leading off the ninth by Wayman on a grounder down the third baseline.
Quintana and closer Neil Fryer each had effective relief appearances.
The Saints will have to put this game behind them quickly, and win four straight games now to capture the Championships. Senior Justin Brantley gets the ball against the Red Foxes Friday.