The Owls scored five runs in the first inning last Saturday at Campbell’s Field, taking an early 5-0 lead against Cincinnati in the second game of the weekend series.
But the Bearcats answered right back in the second and third innings, while the Temple bats fell silent for the remaining eight. The Owls didn’t score again after the first inning surge, falling to Cincinnati 11-5 in front of a crowd of 221 and dropping their conference record to 3-5.
Freshman starting pitcher Patrick Vanderslice went one inning with two hits, five runs, one earned run and two walks.
“The situation was shaping up really good for [Vanderslice],” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “We got five in the first and he should have been able to go out there and just relax, throw the ball over the plate, and see how far they can hit it. Especially on a cold night like tonight. We felt the pressure and we fell behind.”
Wheeler said the team needs to “find something other than Matt Hockenberry that can go out there and give us a chance to win a ball game.”
The Owls committed seven errors, which accounted for four unearned runs.
“I just told the guys that to be a good player you got to find consistency in your game,” Wheeler said. “You can’t come out one day and play flawless and then the next day come out and make seven errors. We shouldn’t be making seven errors and giving them that many opportunities to score runs.”
Senior infielder Derek Peterson recognized the problems in the field.
“I thought [Vanderslice] pitched great and I think we just need to do a better job of picking him up and making some plays behind him,” Peterson said.
Peterson led the team in hits on Saturday. He went 3-4 with a walk and a run scored. Peterson said he has made a few adjustments in batting practice and that his hitting “felt good.”
The team finishes the series against Cincinnati on Sunday at Campbell’s Field at 1 p.m.
“For as bad as we played tonight, it only counts as one loss,” Wheeler said. “We don’t have to do anything special, they’re a solid club, but if we play the game the right way, we have shown that we can play with anybody.”
“So if we come out tomorrow and play fundamentally sound baseball, throw strikes, work ahead of hitters, have quality at bats, and make defensive plays, then I think we have a chance to win the ball game tomorrow,” Wheeler added.
Peterson said the team will “come out like maniacs” on Sunday afternoon.
Ed LeFurge III can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ed_LeFurge_III.