Troy, N.Y. - Rider University's Tyler Smith went the distance as the #4 Broncs defeated top-seeded Manhattan College, 6-4, in the first game of the 2012 MAAC Baseball Championship at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, N.Y.
Smith, a Preseason All-America closer converted into a starter earlier this season, allowed four runs on six hits and three walks, striking out four, in his nine innings of work.
Freshman catcher Eric Strano hit an RBI single in the second inning to give the Broncs a 1-0 lead. Junior Ian Lindsay hit a double and scored on a single by junior Adam Wayman for a 2-0 Rider lead in the third inning.
Freshman Greg Fazio led off the fourth inning with a double, his second hit of the game, and scored on a botched squeeze play due to a throwing error by Manhattan catcher Ramon Ortega, giving Rider a 3-0 lead.
Manhattan (29-25) cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning on a walk and three singles.
Strano hit an RBI single, his second RBI single of the game, to give Rider a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning. Senior Brandon Cotten followed Strano's RBI single with a two-run home run for a 6-2 lead.
Manhattan designated hitter Brendan Slattery gave the Jaspers some life in the bottom of the ninth inning. Slattery blasted a two-run bomb to left field after junior catcher Ramon Ortega drew his 30th walk of the year making it a two run ballgame with no outs. But after Smith walked junior right fielder Joe Rock, the junior left hander returned to form as he got the final outs to finish the complete game victory.
Rider will play the winner of Canisius and Fairfield at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 25. Manhattan moves into the loser's bracket and will play at 3 p.m. tomorrow.