In the opening game of the three-game weekend in Norfolk, Va., Temple (2-4) fell 9-2 to Old Dominion (4-3) on Friday, March 1.
Entering the game, the Owls were coming off a weekend in which the team gathered two wins in three games and coach Ryan Wheeler said he wanted to keep Temple on that winning track.
“It was a tough one today,” senior third baseman Henry Knabe said. “We got off to a slow start with the bats and our biggest problem was that we couldn’t stop them.”
After three scoreless innings for both the Owls and the Monarchs, it was Old Dominion that opened the game up in the fourth inning.
Starting for Temple was redshirt-senior Dan Moller, starting his third game of the season for the Owls. Junior first baseman Ben Verlander singled to right center, scoring junior third baseman Jordan Negrini and giving the Monarchs the 1-0 lead. Two Old Dominion singles along with a bunt and a Temple error headlined a five-run fourth inning for the Monarchs.
In the top of the fifth innings, freshman outfielder Jimmy Kerrigan grounded out to shortstop, but put the Owls on the board as redshirt-senior catcher Matt Elko scored. At the end of the top of the fifth, Temple trailed Old Dominion 5-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Old Dominion offense was back to work against Moller. A double by sophomore catcher Michael Perez headlined a three-run inning for the Monarchs and gave them a 8-1 run.
Moller finished the day with five innings pitched, eight earned runs, three walks and one strikeout.
“[The Monarchs] play a lot of small ball,” Moller said. “They really focus on three things: getting them on, getting them over and getting them in. They really didn’t drive too many balls today. They just played station to station baseball throughout the entire game.”
In the bottom of the seventh inning, a wild pitch from sophomore pitcher Adam Dian allowed the Monarchs to score their final run, giving them the 9-1 lead over the Owls.
Entering the top of the eighth trailing 9-1, Temple attempted to put together a rally of its own. A Knabe single up the middle scored junior first baseman Derek Peterson and putting the Owls behind by seven runs. The Temple offense would be shut down for the remainder of the game, giving the Monarchs the 9-2 win, the team’s fourth win of the season.
Leading the Owls’ offense today was Knabe, who notched two hits in four at bats and added one of Temple’s two RBI.
“My first two bats were okay, but when we needed to play catch up, I started to see the ball better,” Knabe said. In my final two at bats, I had two strikes on me and I was able to gets hits out of both at bats. I was pretty successful today with two strikes.
After today’s loss, the Owls will have another shot against the Monarchs on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. in the second game of a three-game weekend.
“I would imagine much of the same from Old Dominion’s offense tomorrow,” Moller said. “They don’t have any real big free swingers. They know how to bunt the ball over and play small ball.”
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.