It has been the best of times and the worst of times so far for Temple’s “Boys of Spring.” The Owls baseball team, which finished last season winning 10 of their last 13 games, were very optimistic coming into the season due to the return of 24 players, including all nine starters.
But the Owls began the year by getting pummeled in non-conference play, losing 15 of their first 16 games.
Temple head coach Skip Wilson, coaching in his 41st year at Temple, planned a much tougher schedule than in years past in hopes of preparing his veteran ball club for the Atlantic 10 season. Although Wilson did not expect to lose this many games, the Owls (8-16, 5-1 A-10) have found a safe haven in the Atlantic 10, where they currently stand tied for first place with perennial A-10 power George Washington after winning five of six conference games.
Current A-10 Pitcher of the Week Greg Powell has played an important role in the Owls’ recent resurgence.
The senior pitcher started the season by losing his first four decisions, but has turned it up in conference play by notching two consecutive complete game victories and one save in his last three appearances.
In the Owls’ last game, Powell allowed only four singles and a third-inning run in Temple’s 16-1 victory over Rhode Island (14-9, 1-2 A-10). Temple’s bats wasted very little time giving their ace run support, as senior outfielder Chris Krusen smacked a three-run homer in the first inning off previously undefeated Pete Kehoe (5-1). Krusen’s shot set the tone for four other Owls with at least two or more hits.
Junior Jim Tully had a game-high four hits, while outfielder Jim Lyall recorded three hits. The game completed the three-game weekend series in which the two teams split the first two contests.
A-10 Baseball Notebook
Senior centerfielder Bob Filler is on pace to break numerous Temple records this season. Filler already became Temple’s all-time leader in career at bats (660) earlier this week against Rhode Island, passing Tom Whalen’s mark of 657 set between the years of 1993-96.
Filler is also five hits shy of breaking Whalen’s career hit mark (228), and currently stands six games behind Bob Christy for the all-time career games record of 187.
Joining Powell with A-10 honors this week are Player of the Week Bobby Kingsbury and A-10 Rookie of the Week Gary Kaible, both of Fordham University. Kingsbury had a monster week at the plate batting 11-for-19 (.579), including three home runs, 13 RBIs and three stolen bases in four games.
Kaible’s freshman teammate Gary Kaible collected two saves and a win in four relief appearances last week.
Temple’s three-game sweep of Xavier on March 24-25 was the first for the Owls since the Musketeers joined the A-10 conference in 1996.
St. Joseph’s seniors Mike DeVincentis and Kevin Kirkby recently made school history. DeVincentis became the schools all-time doubles leader with his 48th career double in a non-conference victory over Coppin State, and Kirkby became the fourth player in school history to collect 200 hits.