Freshman pitcher nearly completes no-hitter in loss

First year pitcher Patrick Peterson threw eight hitless innings


The Temple News

Entering his sixth start of the season for the Owls, freshman Patrick Peterson was 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA. His sixth start against Saint Louis on Saturday, March 24 came as a surprise to many, nearly making Temple baseball history.

The Bear, Del. native had a perfect game through 6.2 innings until surrendering a walk in an eight pitch at bat. Through the first eight innings of the game, Peterson gave up no runs and no hits. It was not until the first batter of the ninth when freshman leadoff pinch hitter Mike Vigliarolo doubled to kickoff the ninth.

Peterson was removed after the double, in which he was followed by redshirt-senior closer Brian Sustersic. A wild pitch and a walk lead to a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth scenario in which coach Ryan Wheeler turned to redshirt-junior closer Steve Visnic. A game-winning base hit by junior outfielder Alex Kelly led to a heartbreaking loss for the Cherry and the White.

Peterson’s nearly historic day ended with a stat line of 8.0 innings, one hit, one run, and 10 strikeouts in the 2-1 loss at Saint Louis.

John Murrow can be reached at

Baseball: Owls split doubleheader to Binghamton

Tyler Sablich

The Temple News

In game one of Sunday, March 18’s twin bill against Binghamton, redshirt-senior Steve Nikorak pitched 5.1 innings, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out three in route to an Owls’ 2-1 game 1 doubleheader victory. The Owls would lose game 2, 13-5.

Standout freshman shortstop Nick Lustrino had a big day at the plate, going 3-3 while knocking in the tying run in the fifth inning. After leading off the sixth inning with a hit, senior catcher Taylor Juran scored the go-ahead run on an RBI base hit by junior infielder Henry Knabe. Red-shirt senior closer Brian Sustersic recorded his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Game two of the doubleheader saw a much different result for the Owls. The Bearcats came out with a vengeance and tallied 17 hits while crushing Temple 13-5.

Binghamton sophomore center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz went 2-6 at the plate with three RBI’s. He drove in the first run of the game in the top of the third with an RBI single and immediately swiped second. Bereszniewicz went on to score on an RBI double by senior first baseman Dave Ciocchi. Ciocchi, along with freshman Jake Thomas, had three hits a piece.

Senior starting pitcher Dan Moller went four innings, giving up four runs on six hits while punching out five and walking two. The southpaw escaped the first two innings unscathed before the Bearcats put up a three-spot in the third inning.

“I threw a lot of strikes that happened to find their bats,” Moller said. “They hit me pretty hard in the third but I settled down. Overall, I’m content with my outing.”

Freshman righty Eric Peterson relieved Moller in the fifth. After Juran cut the deficit to 4-1 with an RBI double that scored Lustrino in the bottom of the fourth, Peterson surrendered eight runs, five of which were earned, while giving up seven hits and walking another in 1.2 innings.

Moller’s counterpart, Binghamton’s sophomore hurler Jack Rogalla, picked up his first win of the season. Rogalla went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one.

The game paused for a few minutes when Owls freshman reliever Ryan Kuehn was struck in the knee with a screaming line-drive off the bat of Ciocchi. Kuehn exited the game with a round of applause from the fans as he limped to the dugout.

The Owls went 3-1 on the weekend after playing four games in just three days. The team edged out St. Peter’s 3-1 on Friday before clobbering New York Tech on Saturday, March 17 with a final score of 17-1.

“Despite the second game against Binghamton, I think this was some of the best baseball we’ve played all year,” Wheeler said. “We got good starting pitching, timely hitting and played outstanding defense.”

After improving their record to 9-11 following the Big 5 Bash, the Owls will have one more tune-up game before they begin Atlantic Ten Conference play next weekend with a series in St. Louis.

“I just want us to continue to improve each day we’re out here,” Wheeler said. “We’ve started to find ways to win games instead of waiting around to lose them. Even with the A-10 season starting I don’t want us to approach things any differently.”

“The goal is to have teams fear coming to Ambler,” Moller added.

Before heading to St. Louis to begin A-10 play, Temple will take on La Salle Wednesday, March 21th in their second meeting of the season. The Explorers defeated the Owls 9-7 on March 13th.

Tyler Sablich can be reached at

Nikorak leads Owls to win over Penn on the diamond

Temple overcame a five-zero deficit after two innings to tie the game at seven in the eighth before prevailing,11-9, in the 11th innig to spoil Penn’s 2012 home debut.

By Scott Samuel David Weiss
UNIVERSITY CITY, Pa.- Following a disappointing 9-7 defeat at the hands of visiting LaSalle on Tuesday March 13, the Owls had fewer than 22 hours to regroup before their next Big Five showdown at Pennsylvania’s Meiklejohn Stadium on Wednesday, March 14.
Temple’s defeat by LaSalle had been the final game of a four-game homestand at Ambler’s Skip Wilson Field, in which the Owls outscored opponents, 29-28. Penn, which made its 2012 home debut in front of nearly 100 spectators, played eight consecutive road contests to begin this season, and they have been outscored 62-38.
After the Owls fell short in their comeback attempt against LaSalle a day before (in which Temple rallied trailing 8-0 to trailing 8-7), Temple had been bailed by a game-tying three-run sayonara by redshirt-senior third basemen Steve Nikorak in the bottom of the eighth to knot the score at seven.
The Owls and Quakers could not tally another run in their frames of the ninth, sending this Big Five contest to extra innings, where the visiting Owls prevailed against the host Quakers, 11-9, snapping a two-game skid.
The visiting Owls began the game with a fifth-pitch hit-by-pitch to Jordan Queja by Penn righty Connor Cuff to lead off the first. However, Cuff’s next three batters saw nine pitches, including strikeouts of Nikorak and Elijah Yarborough. In the bottom of the first, Owls righty Ryan Kuehn, making his first start of 2012, struggled after retiring Brandon Engelhardt on a right field flyout. Then, the Quakers’ Greg Zerback had been hit on his back on a cutter from Kuehn, and Spencer Branigan followed with a single.
There had been two on and one out with the count at two balls and two strikes when Quaker Ryan Dietrich, Penn’s leading hitter at .393, sent a screamer to deep left field onto the protection screen over the 365 mark for a three-run sayonara to put Penn leading 3-0. One more run crossed for the hosts on a Foster Dunigan Error, which had Derek Vigoa score from second for a Penn 4-0 advantage.
Connor Reilly’s one-out single in the Owls’ top of the second wiith one out  turned into a pickled when he was caught between second and third, and Matt Elko grounded out to second. Engelhardt walked, stole second, reached third on a Kuehn misthrow to first, and scored on a Zerback sacrifice fly for a 5-0 Quaker lead after two.
Temple nor Penn scored in the third, which included a one-two-three inning from Kuehn in the bottom half. First-year coach Ryan Wheeler saw his Owls find their groove off Cuff in the top of the fourth, receiving two runs on two hits, including an RBI double from Elko that brought in Reilly, cutting the Penn edge to 5-2. Kuehn allowed an infield single to Kyle Toomey in the bottom half, but Toomey had been caught stealing second to end the frame.
“Let’s stay up now and get in this game,” Wheeler yelled at his players while approaching the bottom half of the fourth.
Additional chances of trimming Penn’s lead in the top of the frame began with Dunigan walking, but Queja grounded into a five-six-three double play. Nick Lustrino drew the Owls’ second walk of the inning before Nikorak struck out swinging.
Entering the bottom of the fifth, Wheeler removed Kuehn after four innings of four hits, five runs (four earned), one walk, and one strikeout. Steve Visnic, a sidearm righty, replaced Kuehn and did not disappoint as Visnic yielded two hits without a run along with one walk and two strikeouts. Zebrack gave the Quakers a runner in scoring position in the fifth by smoking a double off the right field wall from a Visnic offering.
“Don’t you let much go in,” Wheeler yelled at Visnic after he yielded Zebrack’s double. “Find your pitch.”
The Owls had an opportunity to chase Penn’s lead in the top of the six as Matt Gotschall replaced Cuff. Cuff pitched five innings, allowing four hits, two runs (both earned), three walks, and five strikeouts. However,Gottschall had been relieved by Quaker lefty John Beasley after Gotschall yielded singles to Taylor Juran, who has hit safely in 15 of 16 games in 2012, and Matt Elko, and Gotschall loaded the bases by walking Jabir Kahn. Dunigan, seizing the opportunity to drive in Owls, grounded out to the second baseman.
Unlike the top of the sixth, the Owls drove in runners in the top of the seven to cut their defecit to 5-4, in which they faced three Penn relievers. Beasely threw two-thirds additionally, Stephen Selvestri could not record an out by allowing a two-RBI single to Juran, and Cody Thompson allowed a single to Reilly and walk to Elko to load the bases for Kahn.
Before Juran’s seventh-inning at-bat, Reilly told him, “All it takes is one bat.”
Khan had been the batter at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, but he struck out on three pitches. The hosts extended their lead, 7-4, in the bottom of the seventh, with a two-run homerun by Branigan.

Penn held onto the lead for only half an inning before the homerun by Nikorak, which marked his first roundtripper of the season.

Penn(3-6,0-1 Big Five) had won the previous three meetings against the Owls(6-10, 1-1 Big Five). Also, the Quakers finished their 2011 home slate at Meiklejohn Stadium with nine victories against six defeats.
The Owls will have a day off to celebrate a rally that did not fall short before hosting St. Peters of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) at Skip Wilson Field on Friday March 16.

Scott Samuel David Weiss can be reached at

Baseball: Owls get late rally, but Explorers hold on for win

By Samuel Botwinick

The Temple News

What looked like it might be a blowout early on ended up being a close game, with the La Salle Explorers edging out the Owls in a 9-7 victory at Skip Wilson Field at Ambler Campus.

The Explorers’ early outburst came in the first and third innings, with junior shortstop Joe Bennie driving in two runs with an RBI double in the top of the first.

The top of the third proved to be an eventful inning for both Owls’ senior starting pitcher, Dan Moller and fellow freshman pitcher Adam Dian, who proceeded to walk several batters, including throwing a wild pitch that led to a run.

The Owls began to regain momentum at the top of the ninth, thanks to the bats of redshirt-senior third baseman Steve Nikorak, junior designated hitter Elijah Yarborough, senior second baseman Foster Dunigan and redshirt-junior first baseman Matt Elko. Elko came up with a clutch two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to bring the Owls within one run.

Another contributor for the Owls was freshman relief pitcher Eric Peterson, who was able to neutralize the bats of the Explorers. Peterson pitched a career-high six innings of one-run ball, giving up three hits, while notching a career-high of five strikeouts.  His only blemish was a solo shot yielded to Explorers’ sophomore center fielder George Smith Jr.

Peterson was confident in his “stuff” today and he was pleased with the way he pitched.

“I thought I threw pretty well today,” Peterson said. “I hit my spots. I was able to get out batters, so hopefully I’ll be able to gain confidence off that and move on to the next game, I guess.”

Reigning Atlantic Ten Conference Player of the Week, Nikorak, was the primary source of offense for the Owls, driving in two runs and collecting two doubles in the process. Nikorak contributed on defense as well, when he made a catch that prevented the Owls from giving up potential runs in the top of the seventh.

He explained what was going through his head when he attempted that catch.

“ Well, I was just trying to get over to that dug out and try to find the fence, and it worked out from there,” Nikorak said.

Coach Ryan Wheeler put the game in a nutshell.

“I thought it was sort of a tale of two games,” Wheeler said.

The Owls look to rebound today as they travel to Penn to take on the Quakers.

Samuel Botwinick can be reached at