After earning an 8-3 Atlantic 10 conference victory against the 49ers on Friday, Temple (16-22, 6-11 A-10) fell to UNC Charlotte (25-19, 9-5 A-10) 9-3 in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday, April 27.
Entering Saturday as arguably one of the Owls’ hottest pitchers with a 5-1 record, sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson earned his seventh start of the season and suffered his worst outing of 2013. The 49ers’ offense collected 16 total hits in the game, headlined by a three-run sixth inning.
Following a scoreless first inning, 49ers’ redshirt-senior right fielder Tony Montalbano began the top of the second inning with a leadoff double. Montalbano later scored the game’s first run on a redshirt-senior shortstop Justin Rowland single.
UNC Charlotte added two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Three 49ers’ singles headlined the two-run inning, but Wheeler stuck with his starting pitcher Peterson.
Trailing by three runs, the Owls began to chip away at the deficit in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino began the inning with a leadoff triple to right field and scored just a batter later as senior third baseman sent a sacrifice-fly to right field.
In the top of the fifth, UNC Charlotte added their fourth run of the contest off of Peterson. Junior left fielder Justin Seagar lead off the inning with a double and later scored on a fielder’s choice. At the end of the fifth inning, the Owls trailed the 49ers 4-1.
After a run in the fifth, the 49ers extended their lead with three runs in the top of the sixth headlined by a one-out RBI double from Seagar, his second in as many innings.
Trailing 7-1, a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth from senior second baseman Elijah Yarborough scored redshirt-senior designated hitter Matt Elko and shrunk the 49ers’ lead to five runs.
Redshirt-sophomore pitcher Zach Batchelor replaced Peterson in the top of the seventh inning and the relentless UNC Charlotte continued where it had left off, adding one run and increasing its lead to 8-2.
Peterson finished the afternoon with 6.0 innings pitched, allowing seven runs on 13 hits while recording one walk and two strikeouts en route to his second loss in as many starts.
Following a scoreless eighth inning, the 49ers added their final run in the top of the ninth inning. The Owls too added a run in the bottom of the ninth, but Temple was unable to put together a large enough rally to comeback from the six-run deficit.
Senior left fielder Allen Stiles and Elko lead all Owls with two hits each, while junior first baseman Derek Peterson, senior third baseman Henry Knabe and Yarborough each added a RBI in the loss.
Temple and UNC Charlotte will finish off the three-game series on Sunday at noon. Both teams will be in search of a victory on Sunday in the pivotal conference series.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @JohnMurrow12.