After Tuesday’s 16-8 thumping at the hands of Big 5 rival Villanova, coach Ryan Wheeler wanted his team to treat Wednesday’s contest at the University of Delaware like it was game one of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
Coming off of a conference series win against Connecticut this weekend, Wheeler wasn’t happy with Tuesday’s performance.
Wednesday was no cure.
Delaware used a big seven run fifth inning to chase Temple pitcher Connor Staskey from the game, allowing the Blue Hens to cruise to a 9-3 win at Bob Hannah Stadium in Newark, Del., on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the second time the Owls have lost to Delaware this season.
The loss is Temple’s fifth consecutive against a non-conference opponent.
“We talked about it after yesterday’s ballgame, we’re like two different teams,” Wheeler said. “We’re Jekyll and Hyde.”
Temple (12-21, 7-8 American), has shown the ability to win against competition in the American. The Owls have taken conference series victories in three different weekends this year, two of which were on the road at Memphis and at Connecticut.
“That’s what bothers me the most is we have some success on the road against some really good clubs and we play really good baseball,” Wheeler said. “Then we come back against teams that are still quality teams and good teams but are at different points in their season and we just play the complete opposite.”
“It’s disappointing to not build off of the success we’ve had on the weekends,” he added.
Staskey (0-1, 5.76 ERA) was starting in just his second game of the year. After cruising through the first inning in 1-2-3 fashion, Staskey was saddled with two earned runs in the second inning on two hits.
Temple got on the board in the top of the fourth inning when senior outfielder Bobby Heitzman knocked in senior first baseman Robert Amaro with an RBI groundout.
But Delaware (18-19, 5-6 Colonial Athletic Association) sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring seven runs on five hits. The Blue Hens led 9-1 at the end of the frame.
On the day, Staskey left midway through the fifth inning, giving up seven runs – five earned – on seven hits while walking three and striking out a pair.
The Blue Hens used five different pitchers to keep the Owls at bay for much of the afternoon. Starter John Geffre picked up the win after going three innings, scattering just two hits.
Temple put a pair of runs on the board in the eighth inning after Amaro lined an RBI triple – his team-leading 31st RBI of the season – into the gap in left centerfield, scoring senior shortstop Derek Peterson. Amaro then scored on a wild pitch.
Next up for the Owls is another weekend series, this time against a non-conference opponent in Monmouth. The team will travel to West Long Branch, N.J., on Friday with the last two games of the series coming at Skip Wilson Field.
“I hope we come back this weekend and play strong against them and not get into this mindset that these games aren’t as important as the conference games because I think they’re all important,” Wheeler said.
“I’d like to see us get on a little bit of a roll going into Rutgers next weekend and hopefully we play better this weekend.”
Jeff Neiburg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.