Coach Ryan Wheeler switched redshirt-senior Ryan Kuehn from the bullpen to a starting role after a series against St. Peter’s University. Kuehn has thrived in that role as he has allowed just one run in four of his six starts.
Bullpen memories came flooding back to Kuehn on April 27 at Skip Wilson Field, however, when the Temple bullpen surrendered a three-run lead in the ninth and lost 7-4 in 10 innings to Monmouth after he pitched six innings of one run ball. Monmouth won all three games of the series.
“I always tell those guys I have been there and nobody ever wants to let a game get away like that,” Kuehn said.
The loss dampened a two-RBI performance by first baseman Robert Amaro, who also had two hits.
“Kuehn pitched a pretty good game today and obviously we had some trouble in the later innings,” Amaro said.
The Owls started things in the third inning, when designated hitter Daniel Dragos led off with a triple over the head of centerfielder Steve Wigus. Third baseman Bobby Heitzman later singled to bring home Dragos for a 1-0 lead.
The fourth inning brought two more runs for the Owls, as infielder Derek Peterson led things off with a double. Amaro scored Peterson with a double and later scored after outfielder Frank D’Agostino hit a triple to the right field wall.
“We have been struggling offensively lately so it was good to see us get some runs early, but it is a shame we could not add to it,” Wheeler said.
The Owls didn’t score again after that until Amaro added an RBI in the eighth with a single to right.
The lead started to slip away when Monmouth shortstop Jon Guida reached on an error by Peterson. That was followed up by outfielder Joe Bamford and Wilgus both singling to load the bases. After second baseman Jake Gronsky walked home a run, outfielder Craig Sweeney singled home Bamford and Wilgus to tie the game.
The Owls could never regroup, as bullpen pitcher Tim McCarthy gave up the lead in the next inning. Hawks catcher Connor White led off the inning by getting hit by a McCarthy pitch and then was moved to third on a single by Guida.
In a close play, White scored under the tag of Owls catcher Michael D’Acunti on a bunt single by third baseman Robbie Alessandrine. Singles from Wilgus and Gronsky scored the final two runs.
The Owls threatened with two men on second and third in the bottom of the inning, but Jeff Paglione did not let them score.
“We did not play well it is disappointing because this time last week we were riding such a high and now we are coming away from a weekend with some tough losses,” Wheeler said.
The loss extended a five-game losing, streak after the Owls took two of three from Connecticut the prior weekend.
The Owls will try to rebound Wednesday against Villanova, as the American Athletic Conference tournament draws near.
Stephen Godwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.