LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - The Marist baseball team earned a sweep at Rider in a key Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) doubleheader on Saturday. The Red Foxes cruised to a 13-0 win in the seven-inning game one, and used a seventh-inning comeback to earn a 4-3 win in game two.
In game one, junior right-hander Brett Houseal (Landisville, Pa.) pitched a complete-game shutout and didn't walk a batter. Houseal (1-5) struck out two and scattered eight hits, and allowed only one runner to reach third base.
Marist scored three runs in the second, five in the third, three in the fourth and four in the fifth. The Red Foxes banged out 14 hits, including four for extra bases, and were aided by four Rider errors which resulted in six unearned runs.
With two outs in the top of the second, runners on first and second, and the game tied at zero, junior designated hitter Dan Zlotnick (Katonah, N.Y.) singled to right field. The ball then got past Rider right fielder Jerry Mulderig and rolled toward the warning track. Both runners scored, and Zlotnick came all the way home on the play to put Marist up 3-0 on a play that was ruled a single and three-base error.
The Red Foxes' five runs on the third came on three hits, two errors and a wild pitch. Sophomore third baseman Nick McQuail (Wantagh, N.Y.) belted a two-run triple to the left-center gap, and sophomore right fielder Pat Welsh (Millersville, Pa.) followed with a two-run homer to left-center as Marist jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Marist then scored three more in the fourth, as McQuail belted an RBI double in that inning. Marist then closed out its scoring with two more runs in the fifth.
Zlotnick, McQuail and sophomore center fielder Jake Berry (South Hamilton, Mass.) had three hits apiece in game one. McQuail needed just a homer to complete the cycle, as he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Welsh went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs, and junior first baseman Mike Orefice (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Rider starter Tyler Smith (3-2), who went the first four innings, took the loss. Smith allowed 11 runs in four innings, six of which were unearned.
Rider scored twice in the bottom of the first in game two, and took a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth, freshman right-hander Brandon Dolan (Franklin Park, N.J.) relieved starter Chris Bielak (Sayreville, N.J.). Dolan got out of the inning by striking out the first batter he faced.
In the sixth, junior shortstop Zach Shank (Lititz, Pa.) started a one-out rally for Marist with a base hit. With two outs, he advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then reached third on a failed pickoff play. Senior left fielder Eric Helmrich (Yonkers, N.Y.) then doubled to bring home Shank and make the score 3-1.
The Red Foxes then took the lead by scoring three times in the seventh on just one hit. Freshman catcher Mark Swertfager (Katonah, N.Y.) started the inning with a walk, reached second on a groundout by Zlotnick, and scored on a pinch-hit single by red-shirt junior Ben Luderer (River Vale, N.J.) to make the score 3-2. Berry then walked, which moved pinch-runner Eric Molinaro (Kingston, N.Y.) to second. Shank hit a grounder up the middle which Rider second baseman Mike Parsons couldn't handle, which allowed Molinaro to score from second to tie the game. Orefice then was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Helmrich followed with a roller in front of the mound on the third-base side, and Rider pitcher Sean Kuberiet's throw to the plate was late and wide, allowing Berry to score the go-ahead run.
Dolan pitched a 1-2-3 sixth for Marist, and was relieved by senior right-hander Jake Rifkin (West Deptford, N.J.) after a leadoff single in the seventh. Over the final three innings, Rifkin held the Broncs scoreless, as he allowed three hits and a walk and struck out two for his fourth save of the season. Rifkin got into bases-loaded jam in the eighth, but recorded a two-out strikeout to get out of trouble.
Rider outhit Marist 9-7 in the second game. Helmrich was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Center fielder Nick Crescenzo was 2-for-5 with a run scored for Rider.
Dolan earned the win to run his record to 5-2, as he took the team lead in wins. Eric Thomas (0-1), who faced three batters in the seventh and allowed an unearned run, took the loss for Rider.
Berry hit .692 (9-for-13) with six runs scored and two RBIs in the series.
Marist is now 15-20 overall and 7-7 in the MAAC; Rider is 12-26 and 7-8 in the MAAC.Marist will return to action on Wednesday, when the Red Foxes face Army in the seventh annual Hudson Valley Baseball Classic at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m., with a kids' clinic starting at 3 p.m. Both the game and clinic are free to attend. Further information about the game and clinic are available on the baseball page of GoRedFoxes.com.