In the second game of a three-game weekend, Temple (2-5) fell to Old Dominion (5-3) 12-4 on Saturday, March 2.
In the first inning, the Monarchs took jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Owls, but it was ultimately another five-run fourth inning for Old Dominion that doomed Temple on Saturday, leading the Monarchs to their third win in a row.
“This wasn’t how we expected it to go,” sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino said. “We couldn’t stop their big innings and we couldn’t stop the bleeding when we needed to.”
The bottom of the first inning was headlined by a double from Old Dominion junior shortstop Tyler Urps, followed by a three-run home run from sophomore left-fielder Josh Eldridge that gave the Monarchs the 3-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, Temple would respond with two runs of its own. A Lustrino triple down the right-field line scored senior second baseman Jordan Queja. Following Lustrino in the lineup was junior first baseman Derek Peterson who singled through the left side of the field, scoring Lustrino and putting the Owls behind by one run.
For the second straight day, the Owls’ pitching fell apart in the fourth inning. Entering the fourth inning, Temple trailed Old Dominion 3-2. By the end of the inning, the Owls found themselves trailing 8-2 after another five-run fourth inning.
“I think a lot of things just didn’t go our way again today,” Peterson said. “There were a lot of hits that were not hit hard, jam shots, and just some grounders that found the hole. That’s the way baseball goes sometimes.”
Starting the game for the Owls was junior pitcher Matt Hockenberry, who finished the day with 3.2 innings pitched, six earned runs on eight hits, while recording one walk and two strikeouts. Redshirt-senior pitcher Steve Visnic followed Hockenberry, pitching 1.1 innings while allowing two earned runs on three hits and recording one strikeout.
After two scoreless innings for the Monarchs and Owls, Old Dominion found its offense once again in the seventh inning. Four Old Dominion singles and two Temple errors capped off the four-run inning that put the Monarchs on top 12-2.
Down by 10 runs entering the top of the eighth inning, the Owls did not give up. Following a single from senior left-fielder Allen Stiles, a Queja double put men on second and third with no outs. After Lustrino forced a walk, Temple had the bases loaded. A sacrifice fly from Derek Peterson scored Stiles and the Owls ended the top half of the eighth inning trailing 12-4.
In the top of the ninth, the Owls were unable to get any runs despite a two out double from freshman center-fielder Jimmy Kerrigan. A groundout to shortstop from Stiles preserved the 12-4 win for Old Dominion, the team’s third win in a row.
Leading the Owls in the loss today were Lustrino and Derek Peterson, who both notched two hits each. Queja added one hit and two runs in the loss. Temple gathered eight team hits while Old Dominion compiled 14 hits on Saturday.
After giving up nine runs in yesterday’s 9-2 loss to the Monarchs, the 12 runs allowed in Saturday’s loss brings a total of 21 runs allowed by the Temple pitching staff, combining for a 10.50 ERA in the first two games of the weekend.
“We are just not eliminating the big run innings right now,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “Some of it is bad luck. Old Dominion is a good club, but I think they have a slight advantage with the ability to get outside more than us, but we have been playing long enough.”
With the loss Saturday, the Owls will have one last chance to earn a win this weekend in Norfolk, Va., as they face Old Dominion on Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. Sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson is expected to start for the Owls on Sunday, Wheeler said.
“I think we have to come out wanting to win [Sunday],” Lustrino said. “We definitely did not come down here to get swept by [Old Dominion] this weekend.”
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.