Following a disappointing season in which not every expectation was met, Massachusetts completed the three-game conference sweep of Temple on the Owls’ Senior Day.
After dropping both games of a doubleheader yesterday, the Owls fell in their final game of the season 9-4 as their pitching staff struggled against the Minutemen offense.
Prior to the beginning of Saturday’s matchup, the Owls honored seven seniors: Jordan Queja, Allen Stiles, Elijah Yarborough, Henry Knabe, Dan Moller, Steve Visnic and Matt Elko.
Redshirt-senior pitcher Dan Moller started on the mound in his final start of his five-year career with the Owls, but the left-handed pitcher did not go out the way he envisioned.
In the top of the first inning, two UMass doubles allowed for two runs to score, putting Temple in an early 2-0 deficit.
Following a scoreless second inning for both teams, the Minutemen added three more runs in the top of the third to increase their lead to 5-0. Junior third baseman Nik Campero sent a two-out single to center field to score two runs and junior rightfielder Kellen Pagel singled to score Campero one batter later.
Temple scored its first run of the contest in the bottom of the fifth as redshirt-junior pinch hitter Daniel Dragos sent a leadoff homerun to left field, shrinking the Minutemen run to 5-1.
Moller finished his afternoon with 4.1 innings pitched allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits while adding one walk and two strikeouts. Redshirt-senior Steve Visnic replaced Moller.
After UMass added a run in the top of the sixth, a double from junior first baseman Derek Peterson scored Elko. At the end of the sixth, the Owls trailed 6-2.
Two doubles and a triple capped off a three-run top of the seventh for UMass, but the Owls’ offense responded with a two-run seventh of their own. The two-run inning was headlined by a solo homerun from Yarborough to lead off the inning.
The Minutemen added two more runs in the top of the eighth, increasing their lead to 11-4. But the Owls had one last attempt at a comeback in the bottom half of the inning.
Temple scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth on three singles. Yarborough continued his big afternoon with a two-run single that put the Owls behind by three runs.
Unfortunately for the Owls, the comeback was not enough as the Minutemen shut the door on Temple in the bottom of the ninth to earn their 14th win of the season.
Temple was led offensively by Yarborough, who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI in his final game with the Owls.
With the loss on Saturday, Temple finishes 13th in the Atlantic 10 Conference of 15 teams and will not advance to the A-10 tournament in Rhode Island.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.