Baseball’s leadership keeps the team on the right track.
The Owls’ three senior captains are remaining optimistic despite a 5-9 record thus far with six non-conference games remaining before the Atlantic Ten Conference schedule begins.
Tri-captains redshirt-senior pitcher and infielder Steve Nikorak, senior pitcher Dan Moller and senior outfielder Jabair Khan have set the expectations bar high for this season. Last year the team posted a 24-29 overall record and went 4-20 in the A-10.
“We’ve gotten off to a slow start, but we’re right where we need to be right now,” Khan said. “We’ve played a lot of close games so far and we have a good cast of guys and I think we’re going to turn things around and have a strong season.”
Moller, who has been progressing well since Tommy John surgery a year ago, cited another important mentality that is key to success.
“We’re playing confident ball, which we haven’t done in the last couple of years,” Moller said. “We put in a team effort here and we’re starting to play better as a whole.”
“We’ve been starting to put all of the aspects of the game together and play a more complete game,” Moller added.
Nikorak took an honest stance when discussing Temple’s 9-4 defeat on Sunday, March 11 at the hands of Iona College at Ambler.
“We have definitely played better baseball than we did [Sunday],” Nikorak said.
The Gaels (3-10) wasted little time in jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead with two singles, and a three-run homerun by senior third baseman Chris Burke. Despite cutting the lead to 7-4 in the seventh inning, Temple would never recover, and Nikorak was unable to pitch past the fourth inning.
“I really didn’t pitch well today at all,” Nikorak said. “I didn’t even give us a chance to win.”
Although Nikorak had a rough outing on the mound, he picked up two hits to raise his batting average to .222.
“I didn’t think we played very well,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “I was disappointed with our performance especially after winning the first two games of the series.”
Going into Sunday’s contest, Temple had recovered from a 3-6 skid with two consecutive wins at home against the Gaels. After the Owls’ latest loss, Wheeler made it clear that this team still has room to improve.
“Each player needs to figure out the adjustments that he needs to make in order to get better,” Wheeler said. “We definitely need to get better in every aspect of the game. That’s going to start with practice tomorrow and will continue all the way until the last game of the year. We’re not going to stop working towards getting better.”
The Owls will try to bounce back Tuesday, March 13 when they host La Salle at 3 p.m. at Ambler.
Drew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.