After falling yesterday 9-3 to the 49ers, Temple (16-23, 6-12 Atlantic 10 Conference) dropped the final game of a three-game conference series to UNC Charlotte (26-19, 10-5 A-10) on Sunday by a score of 10-2.
The Owls found themselves in an early hole after a five-run first inning from the 49ers. Temple added two runs in the contest, but it was not enough to compete with UNC Charlotte’s offensive attack on Sunday.
In the top of the first, the 49ers sent 10 batters to the plate with redshirt-senior pitcher Dan Moller on the mound for the Owls. UNC Charlotte grabbed the 5-0 lead on five singles and two walks surrendered by Moller.
“[UNC Charlotte] is a pressure-type offense built on speed,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “The key to beating them is keeping their leadoff guys off base and we didn’t do a good job of that early on. We let them get too far out in front in the first inning.”
After a scoreless second inning, the 49ers added two more runs in the top of the third. A leadoff double from redshirt-senior shortstop Justin Roland followed by four singles headlined the two-run inning for UNC Charlotte, which led to the early exit of Moller.
Moller finished his afternoon with 2.1 innings pitched allowing seven runs on eight hits. The left-handed pitcher added four walks and failed to record a strikeout while earning the loss.
The 49ers added one run in the top of the fourth and a run in the top of the fifth to increase their lead to 9-0. In the bottom half of the fifth, the Owls got on the board with a fielder’s choice from junior first baseman Derek Peterson scoring freshman right fielder Frank D’Agostino, who reached on a leadoff single to left field.
Trailing by eight runs, Temple added their second run of the contest as freshman center fielder Jimmy Kerrigan singled to right field, scoring redshirt-senior designated hitter Matt Elko, who singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
“I don’t think [UNC Charlotte’s] approach was much different today,” Kerrigan said. “They were throwing a similar pitcher to the one we saw on Friday. They were just aggressive at the plate and got to us early.”
With redshirt-sophomore pitcher Adam Dian on the mound, the Owls were able to control the 49ers’ offense. Dian pitched 3.0 innings for Temple, allowing no runs and two hits while adding one walk and one strikeout.
In the top of the ninth inning, the 49ers added their final run of the contest off of freshman pitcher Tim McCarthy. Trailing by eight runs, Peterson added a single in the top of the ninth, but the deficit was too large for the Owls to overcome as they fell 10-2.
Temple was led offensively by senior left fielder Allen Stiles and Kerrigan, who each went 2-for-4 at the plate while Kerrigan added one of Temple’s two RBI. UNC Charlotte was led by freshman designated hitter Nick Daddio, who notched three RBI and a 3-for-5 day at the plate on Sunday.
Following Sunday’s loss, the Owls will be back in action on Tuesday, April 30 when they travel to Villanova for a non-conference game against the Wildcats at 3:15 p.m. before traveling to Richmond for a three-game conference series with the Spiders beginning on Friday.
“I told the guys [after Sunday’s loss] that we need to keep working, individually and as a team,” Wheeler said. “No matter what the score, no matter what our record is, we are not going to quit and pack it in because our chances of the postseason are out. We are going to keep competing and play hard for each other.”
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.