Wilson, NC. (2/22/14) – Temple baseball started its 2014 season off strong with a 15-8 victory upsetting the Rider Broncos Saturday. The Owls came out of the gate putting up five two out runs in the first.
3B Robert Amaro knocked in the Owls first run of the season on a single and was followed with singles by C Michael D’Acunti and SS Josh Mason driving in runs of their own. LF Bobby Heitzman capped off the inning with a two run double as Temple was looking like an offensive juggernaut, the score 5-0.
Rider would cut into the deficit in the second however. OF Giovanni Gussen led off the inning with a single and RBI singles by SS Mike Parsons and OF James Locklear made it 5-3. Temple SP Matt Hockenberry ended the comeback getting the next two Rider hitters to fly out and end the inning.
Temple responded to the Rider outburst with two runs of their own in the third. Leadoff man Reyn Sugai earned a rare bases loaded walk and DH Daniel Dragos knocked in a run with a single. The Owls knocked out Rider SP Kurt Sowa early as he was replaced in the middle of the inning.
Rider added another run via an RBI single by LF Nick Kagel in the bottom of the frame. With the score 7-4 heading into the fourth, the Owls weren’t satisfied with the three run lead as Heitzman drove in a run with a groundout to short.
After Hockenberry shut down the Broncos in the bottom of the frame, Amaro increased Temple’s advantage with a two run RBI double putting the game out of reach.
Down 10-4 in the fifth, Kagel once again tried to spark a Broncos comeback with a two run double. He finished 3-5 on the day with three RBI.
Heitzman, making a case for MVP, knocked in Mason with a RBI double. RF David Hall also added a RBI single in the inning as Temple was cruising 12-4.
Rider would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the frame as the Broncos wouldn’t go away. RP Phil Gianakos struggled in the inning letting up two runs on a hit and two walks. After a D’Acunty homer, Gianakos settled in with a 1-2-3 inning as Temple led 13-8 heading to the eighth.
1B Derek Peterson added his name to the RBI column for the Owls with Temple’s fifth double of the game. Amaro added to his already impressive day with a sacrifice fly as Temple would hold onto the 15-8 win with two scoreless innings by RPs Tim McCarthy and Patrick Vanderslice.
Temple’s offense made a statement early getting off to a five run lead but they never let up the scoring as Rider hung with them. Seven hitters had two hits or more as SS Josh Mason led the charge with four.
LF Bobby Heitzman, doing his best Miguel Cabrera impersonation, was a force at the plate going 2-4 and driving in four runs. 3B Robert Amaro, not to be outdone, went an impressive 3-4 and drove in three.
Temple’s Matt Hockenberry (1-0) picked up the win albeit had his struggles going 5.0 innings of work letting up six unearned runs on ten hits.
Rider SP Kurt Sowa (0-1) didn’t fare well in the offensive spectacle only going 2.1 innings letting up seven unearned on seven hits and four walks.
The Big Red Machine continues to cruise against U-Mass-Lowell at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and face the Broncos again 45 minutes after the first game is finished.