On a brisk Friday morning, Temple caught fire late to top Niagara 10-4 at Saint Joseph’s University. Niagara took an early lead, as was the case in most of TU’s games this year, with a sac fly in the first. The Purple Eagles tacked on two more in the second on a groundout and a RBI single by leadoff man Anthony Firenzi. He led the team going 3-5 at the plate.
3B Derek Peterson didn’t let the chill get to him. The senior doubled in the third and fifth to drive in three Temple runs after SP Jordan Schwartz was holding the Owls scoreless. SP Matt Hockenberry, “Hock” as referred to by the Temple faithful, put up zilch after the second and carried the Owls until the seventh when he was pulled with one out.
RP Tim McCarthy came on with the bases loaded and one out and already a run home in the inning. The Owls felt confident with their reliever, who came in with a 1.93 ERA, and rewarded them with two strikeouts to end the inning.
Niagara pulled Schwartz in the bottom of the seventh and called to the bullpen. As productive as Temple’s bullpen was in the game, Niagara’s relief corps cost them dearly. The first five Owl hitters reached base as Peterson was hit by a pitch to tie the game. 1B Robert Amaro hit a fly to right with the bases loaded but the right fielder booted it as the go ahead run came into score for the Owls. Two out singles by OFs Frank D’Agostino and David Hall pushed the lead to four and SS Josh Mason capped off the inning with a two RBI double.
Seven runs in the seventh was the highlight of the day for Temple and the output in the inning was a spectacle to see. Zach Batchelor and Patrick Vanderslice both pitched scoreless innings of relief combining for four strikeouts. McCarthy (1-0) got the win and altered the atmosphere of the game when it looked like the Purple Eagles would take flight and put up runs with runners on base. Five players had two or more hits and Mason led the charge with three in the eight hole.
Temple (2-7) plays Big 5 foe Villanova tomorrow at 2:45 at Saint Joseph’s.