Coming off of an 8-4 victory against Villanova yesterday, Temple (15-21, 5-10 Atlantic 10 Conference) was upset by visiting non-conference opponent George Mason (14-29, 9-2) on Wednesday afternoon.
Following yesterday’s victory in which the Owls scored six runs in the fourth inning which led to their 15th win of the season, the Patriots scored three runs in both the top of the second and third innings on Wednesday. While the Owls made a late-innings attempt at a comeback, the deficit was too large to overcome.
From the first batter of the game, the Patriots’ bats were off. Redshirt junior right fielder Josh Leemhuis led off the game with a home run to left field off of Owls’ junior starting pitcher Preston Hill.
After scoring one run in the first inning, the Patriots added three runs in both the second inning off of Hill, which led to his early exit. Hill finished with two innings pitched, allowing four runs on six hits while adding no walks and two strikeouts.
Junior pitcher Matt Hockenberry replaced Hill in the top of the third inning and the George Mason offense continued where it had left off with Hill. The Patriots scored three runs on four hits and entered the bottom of third inning with a 7-0 lead.
Hockenberry settled in and kept the Patriots’ bats quiet until they added a run in the seventh inning. While George Mason was looking to record its first shutout of the season, Temple had other plans. In the bottom of the seventh, senior second baseman Elijah Yarborough hit a two-run home run to left field, his first of the season.
Trailing 7-2, both teams each scored a run in the eighth inning, entering the top of the ninth inning with the Patriots leading the Owls 9-3.
In the bottom half of the ninth inning a one-out double from junior first baseman Derek Peterson scored redshirt-junior catcher Andrew Nist and put the Owls within five runs of the Patriots. A sacrifice-fly from senior left fielder Allen Stiles scored Yarborough and shrunk the George Mason lead to 9-5. But with two outs, a ground out to third base from senior third baseman Henry Knabe ended the game and handed Temple its fourth loss in its last five games.
With the win, the Patriots snapped their seven-game losing streak, while the Owls fell to 10-11 on the season against non-conference opponents and dropped their first non-conference game at home on Wednesday.
Players and coaches were unavailable for contact following Wednesday’s game.
Temple will be back in action on Friday at 3:00 p.m. as they host visiting conference opponent UNC Charlotte for a three-game series.
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.