After opening its season with 12 straight away games, Temple (3-9) will host visiting Lafayette (2-9) in its home opener today at Skip Wilson Field at 3:00 p.m.
This specific game has been circled on the Owls’ schedule as the team has struggled on the road this season through 12 games, coach Ryan Wheeler said.
Temple has a 2-6 record while it is the away team and a 1-3 record when the team is on neutral turf this season.
“There is no doubt about it that opening the season on the road is tough,” Wheeler said. “Finally, we will have our comfortable surroundings, our fans and we will be on our home field.”
In 25 games last season at Temple’s Ambler campus, the Owls compiled a 10-15 record, while putting together a 9-19 record on the road in 2012.
“It’s a home opener and we are definitely excited for it,” sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino said. “We are definitely expecting a battle and we will do what we can to earn a win at home.”
Wheeler has named junior pitcher Matt Hockenberry the starting pitcher for the game against Lafayette. This season, Hockenberry is 0-1 with a 9.32 ERA with 9.2 innings pitched. The 6 foot 2 inch right handed pitcher has allowed 14 hits, 12 runs (10 earned) and has recorded four walks and eight strikeouts in two starts for the Owls this season.
Opening the season with seven straight losses, the Leopards earned their first win on March 9 against Maryland Eastern Shore and followed with their second win of the 2013 season with a 15-1 victory also against Maryland Eastern Shore on March 10. On the road this season, Lafayette has compiled a 2-8 record.
The Owls will be coming off a 9-6 loss at Longwood and may be making some changes in the lineups, Wheeler said. Wheeler stated he was unhappy with his team’s performance following the March 12 loss in Farmville, Va.
“Everyday I wake up and tell myself it’s a new day and a new game,” Wheeler said. “I hope that we can get on the right track once we start playing at home a little more.”
For the Owls, this will just their second time at the Ambler Sports Complex in 2013. A team practice was held on Tuesday, March 5 and was the first time that Temple was able to practice on a field rather than in a gym.
Sunny skies and temperatures in the high 40’s are expected for the Wednesday’s game against Lafayette with a 30 percent chance of showers from 4-6 p.m.
“We take pride in where we play and we want to show [Lafayette] that this is our turf,” Lustrino said. “You never want to lose at home.”
John Murrow can be reached at email@example.com or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.