Owls to face Delaware in Liberty Bell Classic

Coming off of a 1-0 loss in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader to George Washington, Temple (10-13, 2-4 Atlantic 10 Conference) will face Delaware in Newark, DE in the semifinal game of the Liberty Bell Classic on Tuesday, April 2.

While Temple has won of three of its past five games, the Owls will face a Blue Hens team that has not suffered a loss since March 17. Delaware has won its last eight games and has outscored its opponents 71-42.

Starting on the mound for Temple on Tuesday will be sophomore pitcher Adam Dian, who last pitched against Lehigh in the Liberty Bell Classic quarterfinal game against Lehigh on March 27. Dian finished the game with 3.0 innings pitched allowing no runs, three hits, no walks, and three strikeouts in the 9-3 defeat of the Mountain Hawks.

The Owls will be opposed by Blue Hens’ sophomore pitcher Dan Gatto. In 21.0 innings this season, Gatto has a 5.14 ERA accompanied by a 1-1 record.

In the second game of the 2013 season, Temple fell to Delaware 8-4 in Cary, N.C. Freshman catcher Michael D’Acunti led the Owls with two hits in four at-bats with one RBI in the loss.

The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will advance to the Liberty Bell Classic Final on April 16 at Citizens Bank Park. The Owls or Blue Hens will meet with Villanova or Penn in the championship game.

Following Tuesday’s game, Temple will return to A-10 conference play on Friday when they host LaSalle in a three-game series at Skip Wilson Field.

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Temple to face George Washington in conference play

Coming off of back-to-back wins for the third time this season, Temple (9-11, 1-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) will resume A-10 conference play as they face George Washington (8-16, 3-0 A-10) in a three-game series in Washington D.C. beginning on Friday, March 29.

While the two teams have not met since May 2011, it was the Colonials that had the upper hand, taking two-of-three games to end the Owls’ 2011 season.

“[George Washington] has a new head coach and are going through same things we did last year as a team with a new coach,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “They struggled early, but some things are starting to come together for them. They will be a tough team.”

For the first two match-ups of the three-game series, sophomore pitchers Patrick and Eric Peterson will start for Temple. Patrick will start against the Colonials on Friday at 3:00 p.m. and Eric will start Saturday’s game scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

In the final game of the weekend on Sunday at noon, Wheeler said redshirt-senior pitcher Dan Moller will “probably” start.

The Owls will look to reverse their fortune on the road this weekend, as the team is 3-6 on the road this season and 5-2 when playing at home.

“I think it’s going to be good a good weekend for us,” senior left-fielder Allen Stiles said. “We played well last weekend and we have won our last two games. We have a little something rolling and we hope to keep it up.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Temple plays host to Lehigh in non-conference game

Coming off of its first Atlantic 10 conference win of the season, Temple (8-11, 1-2 A-10) will host Lehigh (11-9, 0-0) at Skip Wilson Field on Tuesday, March 26 at 3:00 p.m.

The Owls will be in search of their third two-game win streak of the season as they face the Mountain Hawks for the second time this season. In their first meeting on March 20, Temple defeated Lehigh 11-8 in Bethlehem, PA.

While coach Ryan Wheeler had not named a starter for Tuesday’s game as of Sunday, junior pitcher Preston Hill, originally scheduled to start Sunday’s 11-1 win against St. Joseph’s but was unable to due to an illness, may be called upon to start on Tuesday against the Mountain Hawks. Hill leads all Owls with a 2.61 ERA in four appearances while compiling an 0-1 record in two starts this season.

After an offensive heavy defeat of St. Joseph’s on Sunday, the Owls will look to keep both their confidence and bats prepared for Tuesday’s match-up, coach Wheeler said.

Following Tuesday’s game, Temple will resume conference play on Friday, March 29 as the Owls travel to George Washington for a three-game series with the Colonials.


John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Owls put winning streak on the line against the Hawks

On Friday, March 22, Temple (7-9) will begin conference play with a three-game series against Saint Joseph’s (8-11) beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Skip Wilson Field.

The Owls will enter Friday winners of their past four games, three of which were at Skip Wilson Field dating back to Friday, March 15.

With its three-game winning streak in doubt on Tuesday entering the ninth inning, Temple put together a four-run top of the ninth to top Lehigh 11-8 in Bethlehem, Pa. to extend its’ streak to four consecutive wins.

In the win over Lehigh, junior first baseman Derek Peterson finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored, while both redshirt-junior center fielder David Hall and junior right-fielder Bobby Heitzman each added three RBI.

This season, Temple is 3-0 while playing at home, while St. Joe’s is 2-10 while on the road in 2013.

The Owls will face the Hawks on Friday at 3:00 p.m., Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and on Sunday at noon.

Baseball travels to Bethlehem to face Lehigh

Coming off of back-to-back wins against Penn State this past Sunday, Temple (6-9) is in Bethlehem, Pa. to play one game against Lehigh (10-6) at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.

Winners of their previous three home games, the Owls have not found the same success while they are away from Skip Wilson Field. In 12 games on the road this season, Temple is 3-9.

The Owls will be preparing for a Lehigh team that put together a six-game wining streak from March 3 to March 12 and has won seven of its previous nine games.

Coach Ryan Wheeler said he is hoping that the team will feed off of Sunday’s win, hoping that the success will carry into Tuesday’s game against Lehigh as well as the team’s first games against conference opponents beginning Friday, March 24 against Saint Joseph’s.

Owls host Penn State in weekend doubleheader

Coming off of a 10-3 win over Lafayette in its home opener, Temple (4-9) will face Penn State (5-9) in a doubleheader at Skip Wilson Field beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.

In just their second and third home game of the season, the Owls are hoping boost their record against a tough Penn State squad.

“Penn State will definitely be a good club,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “They have a tremendous amount of athletes, good quality pitching, and they are going to be a solid team all around.”

In the first game of the doubleheader, sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson will take the mound for the Owls. In three starts for Temple this season, Peterson is 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA with eight walks and leads the Owls in strikeouts with 15.

Following the 12:00 p.m. game, the Owls will play the second game of the doubleheader against the Nittany Lions. Wheeler has named sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson as his starter for game two. In four appearances this season, Eric Peterson has compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.53 ERA. Eric Peterson has recorded three walks and nine strikeouts in three relief appearances and one start in 2013.

In 14 games this season, the Nittany Lions have a team batting average of .275 accompanied by a team ERA of 5.32, while the Owls have a team batting average of .269 and a staff ERA of 5.43 in 13 games.

“We are expecting a team that will play hard the entire game,” redshirt-senior pitcher Dan Moller said.

During the Owls’ 2012 fall season, Temple traveled to Penn State and defeated the Nittany Lions in a scrimmage game, something Moller said he doesn’t believe Penn State has forgotten.

“I believe they will come in with a chip on their shoulders after we beat them in the fall,” Moller said. “No matter what, we are expecting a solid team and a solid performance from them on Saturday.”

On the road this season, Penn State will begin play Saturday with a record of 3-9 while they are the visiting team, while Temple is 1-0 when playing on its home turf in Ambler, PA.

“This weekend is going to be a good test to see if we can continue to play solid baseball,” Wheeler said. “We have been lacking consistency in certain aspects of our game and we hope to fix that starting Saturday.”


John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Temple prepares for home opener

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 john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

One game separates baseball from home opener

On Tuesday, March 12, Temple (3-8) will face off against Longwood (6-8) in Farmville, Va. in a single game beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Coming off of a two-loss weekend to UNC Asheville, the Owls will look to earn their fourth win of the season with redshirt-senior pitcher Dan Moller on the mound against the Lancers, coach Ryan Wheeler said.

In three starts this season, Moller has compiled a 0-2 record with a 10.29 ERA. The senior southpaw has allowed 20 hits and 16 runs while recording nine walks and five strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched.

In a three-game series last year at Longwood, Temple lost the first two games of the series each by one run until defeating the Lancers 11-1 in the final meeting.

One Owl who is familiar with the Longwood pitching staff is sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino, who went 8-for-13 last season against the Lancers. Lustrino added four runs and two RBI in the 2012 series.

“I am familiar with [Longwood] from my time coaching in Virginia,” Wheeler said, who spent 15 years of his 17-year coaching career in VA. “They are going to be tough; they are a well-coached team and they will have some strong players.”

Following Tuesday’s game, the Owls will be back in action on Wednesday, March 13 at 3:00 p.m. in their home opener at Skip Wilson Field against Lafayette.

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Baseball heads to UNC Asheville

Coming off of a three-loss weekend in Norfolk, Va. against Old Dominion, the baseball team will look to improve its record against UNC Asheville this weekend.

Beginning on Friday, March 8, UNC Asheville (4-9) will host Temple (2-6) in the first of a three-game series at 3:00 p.m. The two teams will also face off on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

“We were let down from last weekend and we are now putting that behind us now,” sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino said. “Right now, everybody has their head on correctly, more than usual actually.”

In three games last weekend, the Owls were outscored 23-6 by Old Dominion. During the three-game series against the Monarchs, the Owls used 12 different pitchers who as a staff combined for a 7.66 ERA.

“We are heading down to North Carolina to play better baseball this weekend,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “We need to get into a little more of a routine.”

For the first time in 2013, Temple was able to practice outside on a grass field at the Ambler campus this past Tuesday. This practice was exactly what the Owls needed in order to catch up to those teams that have had the ability to practice outside all season, Wheeler said.

“The early season stuff is kind of over,” Wheeler said. “We have had enough reps and have played enough games. We have just got to play better.”

Entering Friday’s matchup, both the Bulldogs and the Owls will be looking to snap a four game losing streak. For Temple, the team has not won a game since Feb. 24 against Holy Cross in a 13-12 offensive battle, while UNC Asheville last won a game on March 2 against Pittsburgh in a 5-4 extra innings win.

In Friday’s 1:00 p.m. matchup, Wheeler said he expects sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson to start for the Owls. In Patrick Peterson’s last start on March 3, the right-handed pitcher left the game after 6.0 innings pitched while allowing four hits, two runs, one walk and four strikeouts before being replaced by sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson.

“If we play as well as we did against No. 24 Virginia Tech, we expect that we can beat anybody, and that’s the attitude we are going to take heading into this weekend,” Wheeler said.

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.


Baseball travels to Norfolk for series against Old Dominion

After taking two of three games last weekend in Blacksburg, Va., Temple (2-3) will travel to Norfolk, Va. for a three-game series against Old Dominion (2-3).

The Owls will open the weekend against the Monarchs on Friday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. Coach Ryan Wheeler projected that redshirt-senior Dan Moller will start for the Owls. In the first two weekends of the season, Moller has started the first game of both weekends, entering Friday’s game with a 0-1 record and an ERA of 8.00 in nine innings pitched.

Temple will face Old Dominion again a day later on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. Wheeler deemed junior pitcher Matt Hockenberry as his starter for game two of the three-game weekend. Hockenberry will enter Saturday’s game with a 6.00 ERA in six innings of work and has yet to earn a decision.

In the final game of the weekend on Sunday, March 3, the Owls will close out the series at 1:00 p.m. against the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va. Although Wheeler said he is eager to get junior pitcher Preston Hill another start, it will be sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson on the mound for the Owls. Peterson is 0-1 on the season with an ERA of 11.25 in 4.0 innings, while leading all Owls in strikeouts with seven.

“What I am hoping for after turning in a good weekend is that we don’t have a letdown this weekend,” Wheeler said. “You can think you have arrived as a team after having a good weekend and beating a nationally ranked team, but we need to go out and continue to play the same way we did this past weekend and build on it. “

Entering play Friday, the Monarchs will headlined by an array of big name bats including junior first baseman Ben Verlander, younger brother of Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander. This season, Ben is batting .333 in 9 at-bats, while posting a .556 slugging percentage.

“I don’t have any expectations from [Old Dominion], but I expect a lot from us,” junior first baseman Derek Peterson said. “I know we are going to go in there very strong. That’s what we have realized, every game is about us. As long as we play our game, we can compete against anyone and I think that we really showed that this past weekend.”

After an impressive display at the plate last weekend, Wheeler said he hopes his team can keep up the offensive production. Sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino, senior third baseman Henry Knabe, and junior first baseman Derek Peterson headline what has become a dangerous 2-3-4 combination in Wheeler’s batting lineup. Against Virginia Tech and Holy Cross this past weekend, the trio went 18-for-40, while adding three doubles, two triples and one home run.

“I’m hoping for good starting pitching. I hope we play better defense and I hope we continue with our solid approach to the plate,” Wheeler said. “If we do that and the outcomes of the games don’t turn out our way, I will be happy because I know we are getting better and we’re building. I think if we do those things we should be in a position to win.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.