Despite the inability for the Owls to gain ground in the Atlantic 10 Conference postseason race entering Friday, Temple (17-24, 6-13 A-10) dropped its third consecutive conference game to Richmond (27-16, 10-6 A-10) by a score of 6-1.
In the first game of the three-game series in Richmond, the Owls’ inability to score runs accompanied by a four-run second inning for the Spiders was the difference with Owls’ sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson on the mound. Three RBI doubles in the game headlined the five-run win for Richmond.
“Were getting later in the year and I don’t think [Peterson] has been working hard enough as of late,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “He is getting tired and has been leaving balls up in the zone. He is not working ahead in counts and guys are getting good swings on him.”
After a run in the bottom of the first for the Spiders, the Owls added a run of their own in the top half of the second. Following a leadoff single by senior left fielder Allen Stiles, redshirt-senior designated hitter Matt Elko singled to left field, scoring Stiles and tying the game 1-1.
Following a run in the top of the second Temple, Peterson allowed four hits accounting for four Richmond runs in the bottom of the second resulting in his shortest outing of the season. Back-to-back doubles with one out in the inning from junior shortstop Mike Small and redshirt-senior center fielder Matt Zink allowed Richmond to take the 5-1 lead entering the third inning.
Peterson finished the afternoon with 2.0 innings pitched allowing six hits and five runs while adding two walks and one strikeout. Peterson was replaced by sophomore pitcher Adam Dian entering the third inning.
“He’s better than that and needs to better than that,” Wheeler said of Peterson.
Dian held Richmond’s offense quiet for two innings until the Spiders added their final run in the bottom of the fifth. A double from freshman shortstop Tyler Beckwith gave Richmond a five run lead and the eventual 6-1 final score.
The Owls were unable to battle back from the five run deficit despite seven hits in the contest and suffered their 27th loss of the season and 10th conference loss of the season.
Junior pitcher Preston Hill added two innings pitched in the seventh and eighth inning, giving up one hit and allowing no runs while adding two strikeouts.
The Owls will be back in action on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. when they take on the Spiders in the second game of the three-game series in Richmond. Wheeler has announced sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson as his starter in tomorrow’s contest.
“We will be seeing a different kind of pitcher that changes speeds tomorrow” Wheeler said of Richmond. “Each day we need to continue to work. We have got to hit more line drives and square balls up. Richmond is a great defensive team and we need to play better small ball.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.