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 firstname.lastname@example.org.