For the first time since Feb. 24, the baseball team added a game to its win column. On Saturday, March 9, Temple (3-7) defeated UNC Asheville (5-10) by a score of 7-2, earning its first win in the past six games.
Coming off of five straight losses, coach Ryan Wheeler gave the ball to sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson to start the game for the Owls. Scoring a run in six of the first seven innings of the game, the Temple pitching staff held the UNC Asheville offense to two runs on the day and did not allow a hit after the fifth inning to the Bulldogs.
“It was a really good win for us today,” Eric Peterson said. “We needed this one today.”
In the top of the first inning, the Owls got off to a quick 1-0 lead as redshirt-senior first baseman Matt Elko doubled to right center, scoring sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino.
In the bottom half of the first, the Bulldogs responded with a run of their own as redshirt-junior third baseman Robert McIntosh singled up the middle, scoring redshirt-sophomore second baseman Kyle Towles, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Temple was back at it again in the top of the second as a single up the middle from senior second baseman Jordan Queja scored freshman catcher Michael D’Acunti. A fielder’s choice from Nick Lustrino scored freshman center-fielder Jimmy Kerrigan, giving the Owls the 3-1 lead.
After holding UNC Asheville in the bottom of the second inning, the Owls added another run in the top of third as redshirt-sophomore right-fielder Connor Reilly singled up the middle, scoring junior third baseman Derek Peterson, boosting the Temple lead to 4-1.
The Owls added another run for the fourth straight inning in the top of the fourth inning giving Temple the 5-1 lead over the Bulldogs. A groundout from Queja to shortstop scored senior left-fielder Allen Stiles, but in the bottom half of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs added a run of their own to shrink the lead to 5-2. Junior center-fielder Phillip Treadway doubled down the left-field line, scoring junior shortstop Eli Miller.
Following a scoreless fifth inning, a Lustrino single to shortstop scored Queja, expanding Temple’s lead over UNC Asheville to 6-2 in the sixth inning.
Eric Peterson finished the day with five innings pitched, allowing five hits, two runs and recording two walks and five strikeouts.
“I have gone out there and done it before and [coach Wheeler] knows what I can do,” Eric Peterson said about Wheeler’s decision to start the sophomore pitcher.
The Owls added the game’s final run in the top of the seventh inning as Derek Peterson scored on a wild pitch, giving Temple the 7-2 lead, a score that would hold for the final two innings of the game.
“We hit the ball good today, we played really good defense, and the bullpen closed the game down,” Eric Peterson said. “Everybody did their job today and that is what lead us to the win.”
Redshirt-senior pitcher Steve Visnic followed Eric Peterson as the second pitcher of the day and shutdown the Bulldog’s offense. In two innings pitched, Visnic did not allow a hit or a run, while recording one strikeout and no walks in eight batters faced.
In the eighth and ninth innings, redshirt-junior pitcher Ryan Kuehn closed the door on UNC Asheville. In two innings pitched, Kuehn did not allow a hit or a run while adding two strikeouts and one walk to complete the win for the Owls.
Following the win, the Owls will have the chance to take two out of three games from the Bulldogs on Sunday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m.
“Coming off of five straight losses, this was a really good win for us,” Peterson said. “It was an all-around team effort.”
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.