The baseball team had no answer for Wagner University’s balanced attack in their home opener, losing 11-3, at Skip Wilson Field on Temple University’s Ambler campus.
The second game of the scheduled double-header was cancelled due to rain.
Against Wagner, the Owls (3-5 overall) managed nine hits, but were unable get any offense until the later innings.
After two scoreless innings, Temple gave up a run in the third and then imploded in the fourth. The Owls defense, which committed a season-high five errors, could be blamed for most of the Seahawks (2-3) offensive production.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Temple’s senior lefty Tom Dolan surrendered an RBI single to Brian Martutartus. That was followed by three unearned runs contributed to by an error by the third basemen Matt Heltz.
A pair of errors in the fifth by junior right fielder Sean Barksdale and junior shortstop Matt Ortega helped Wagner score two more runs to take a 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Wagner’s ace southpaw, senior Joe Testa, continued to baffle the Owls hitters.
Testa gave up just five hits and one run in seven innings of work. He surrendered his only run in the seventh but may have earned with a shutout if he got a break from the umpire. With one out and junior Lenny DelGrippo on first, senior Stan Orzechowski hit a screaming ground ball right at Wagner second basemen, Seth Boyd. The expected double play ball struck the umpire in the leg and caromed out of play. Two batters later, Barksdale hit a grounder to third, and beat out the double play to score DelGrippo.
At that point, it was too little, too late.
Also, by striking out junior Carmen Del Mastro in the seventh, Testa became Wagner’s all-time strikeout king, passing Oakland A’s farmhand Andrew Bailey. He had three strikeouts for the game and now has 238 career strikeouts, besting the program’s previous high of 237.
An early 11 a.m. start, cold weather and a steady flow of rain may have caused a few of Temple’s pitchers to lose their control late in the game.
Temple sophomore pitcher Mike Click recorded the first out of the eighth inning, but followed that by plunking Tom DiPietro. He was relieved by sophomore Rob Chamra, who subsequently gave up four walks and recorded just one out. Sophomore Kyle Monohan relieved Chamra and stopped the bleeding by recording the final out of the inning.
With the loss, Dolan drops to 0-3 on the season, while Testa improves to 1-1. Thirteen Owls reached base, but the squad left 12 men on.
The loss also drops Temple’s all-time home opener record to 39-9. With Saturday’s scheduled game versus Cornell cancelled, the Owls will look to bounce back against Hartford Sunday at noon.
Kenny Walter can be reached at email@example.com.