Rider baseball starts MAAC tournament with victory over Monmouth – Trentonian
POMONA, NY – Joe Papeo pitched his best game of the season, Jake Barbieri hit a game-breaking two-run homer and the fifth-seeded Rider baseball team overcame a umpire error that denied him a point in the eighth inning to beat fourth-seeded Monmouth, 5-1, at the MAAC Tournament at Clover Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The southpaw Papeo entered the game with an ERA of over seven, but threw six scoreless innings in which he struck out nine, walked one and limited the Hawks to two hits.
Barbieri’s two-point explosion in the ninth gave the defending champion Broncs (26-24) breathing space and Danny Kirwin worked a 1-2-3 ninth to complete a nine-out save.
Rider returns Thursday for an 11 a.m. matchup against top-seeded Marist.
Monmouth (24-26) was scheduled to return Wednesday night for a playoff game against Niagara.
The Broncs were deprived of what could have been a crucial run in the eighth when John Volpe hit a line drive that was ruled to have been caught by left fielder Chris Andrews, but replays showed he had in fact cleared the wall and bounced off the railing behind the fence before Andrews caught him.
Barbieri made it a moot point when his ninth-inning shot landed in the seats beyond the left-field fence.
Monmouth got his only run in the seventh on a Joey Ventresca solo homer off Kirwin, but right fielder Brendan O’Donnell prevented any further damage when he kicked out a runner at home plate to end the inning.
Rider got his three runs against Hawks starter Rob Hensey in the fourth on pick a defenseman, a single and a disallowance.