Following an upset by non-conference opponent George Mason on Wednesday, Temple (16-21, 6-10 Atlantic 10 Conference) earned a must-needed conference win over UNC Charlotte (23-19, 7-5 A-10) by a score of 8-3 on Friday at Skip Wilson Field.
The Owls were lead on Friday by an early offensive outburst of eight runs by the fourth inning, along with a strong pitching performance from starting pitcher Patrick Peterson, who entered Friday’s game in search of his first win of the season against an A-10 opponent.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Owls struck first with two early runs. Back-to-back two-out singles from junior right fielder Bobby Heitzman and freshman center fielder Jimmy Kerrigan gave Temple the 2-0 lead entering the top of the third inning.
Following a two-run bottom of the second, the Owls added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Senior left fielder Allen Stiles notched his second single of the contest scoring senior third baseman Henry Knabe and sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino, giving Temple the 4-0 lead.
The Owls’ offense remained hot entering the bottom of the fourth inning as junior first baseman sent his second triple of the season down the right field line, scoring Heitzman, who reached base on a fielder’s choice. Three Owls’ singles – all with two outs – scored three more runs for Temple before the fourth inning was complete. Entering the top of the fifth, the Owls lead the 49ers 8-0.
After struggling to get to Peterson for the first five innings, the 49ers struck for three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Following the top of the sixth inning, UNC Charlotte was unable to add another run, leading to the Owls sixth conference victory.
In the victory, Peterson improved to 2-5 on the season as the left-handed pitcher threw 7.0 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits. He added one walk and four strikeouts in his first win against a conference opponent this season.
Temple was lead offensively by Stiles, who finished 2-for-4 at the place with two RBI and a run scored. Knabe added a 3-for-5 day at the plate with two runs scored.
Temple and UNC Charlotte be back in action on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the second game of a pivotal three-game conference series.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.