LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – The Purple Eagles baseball team dropped two close games to the Rider Broncs on Saturday.
Game 1: Rider 2, Niagara 1The Purple Eagles (17-14, 7-5 MAAC) and the Broncs (16-16, 8-4 MAAC) remained scoreless through the first three innings of play. In the top of the fourth, Joseph Tevlin singled to center field, scoring Trevor McCauley to put Niagara ahead, 1-0. In the bottom of the fourth, Rider tied things up, 1-1. Niagara held the Broncs off until the bottom of the sixth inning, when they scored their game-winning run. Tevlin led Niagara with one RBI and McCauley had a team-high three hits. Daniel Procopio struck out nine batters and allowed one unearned run in 5.0 innings pitched. Alex MacKinnon (2-1) allowed one earned run in 1.0 inning pitched and took the loss.
Game 2: Rider 6, Niagara 5 (12 innings)Niagara dropped a tough 6-5 contest to Rider in 12 innings in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. In the top of the second, with bases loaded, Peter Battaglia was walked, scoring Joel Brophy to put Niagara up, 1-0. The Broncs tied things up, 1-1, in the bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Brophy hit his third homerun of the season to put Niagara back on top of the Broncs, 2-1, but, in the bottom of the third, Rider took the lead, 3-2. McCauley hit his first career homerun in the top of the fifth inning, which tied up the score once again, 3-3. One score from Darian Blanks in both the top of the sixth and the top of the eighth put Niagara back in the lead, 5-3, but a homerun from Rider in the bottom of the eighth and another score in the bottom of the ninth tied things up, 5-5, and sent the game to extra innings. With bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning, a single from Rider's Jake Bender sent home a run and secured the Broncs' 5-6 walk-off win. Battaglia, Cullen, Brophy, McCauley and Tanner Kirwer finished the game with one RBI each. Brophy, Cullen and Philippe Langlois led the Purple Eagles with two hits each. On the mound, starter Matthew Brash struck out two batters and allowed three earned runs in 5.0 innings pitched. Matt McCuen, who relieved MacKinnon in the bottom of the ninth, struck out a team-high four batters in 2.1 innings pitched. Nate Mascellino (1-3) took the loss for Niagara.
The Purple Eagles play a three-game series with Monmouth in West Long Branch, N.J. April 22-23.