CAMDEN, NJ—The second matchup of the series Saturday was a game of runs as Cincinnati survived the unpredictable affair 11-5.
Many thought the Owls would cruise to another conference victory after what transpired in the first. With two outs gone in the inning, 3B Derek Peterson would get the only hit in the inning. That was crucial as Cincy starter Ryan Atkinson, perfect on the season at (4-0), couldn’t find the plate. He walked 1B Robert Amaro and C Andrew Nist and plunked Michael D’Acunti and Frank D’Agostino.
With two in, the Bearcats’ defense made a blunder on a ball hit by Daniel Dragos with the bases loaded as it cleared the bases giving the Owls a five run cushion. This came after Cincinnati stranded the bases loaded in the top half of the inning. Down five, Cincy wasted no time on their comeback. In the second, SP Patrick Vanderslice escaped a disaster in the first but couldn’t pull off magic twice.
He hit the first Bearcat hitter in the inning and two Temple errors loaded the bases with no one out. Leadoff man Matt Williams drove in two with a RBI double and another error cur the lead to just two. After a Justin Glass RBI single, Temple pulled Vanderslice after just one completed inning. In came reliable RP Tim McCarthy who retired three while only letting another Cincy hitter to score. With the game tied at five Peterson singled and stole second in the bottom of the inning but the Owls couldn’t bring him home. The Bearcats would capitalize with catcher Woody Wallace leading off the third with a double and moving to third on a groundout.
SS Connor McVey would bring him home with a RBI single and advanced to second on another Temple error. They had seven of them. in the game. No typo here as McVie would later score after stealing third on a sac fly by Williams as the Bearcats were up two after being down five just innings before.
Atkinson settled in for the Bearcats going five shutout innings after his first inning debacle. Temple relieved McCarthy after the third and RP Zach White filled in admirably going three scoreless innings to keep the game relatively close. They should have just kept White in to finish the game as the bullpen once again showed it’s true form in the seventh. Like Vanderslice, Connor Stasky had an abysmal game on the mound. He walked Wallace, who advanced on a wild pitch, let up a single and the only out he earned was from a sac bunt.
With runners on second and third and one out, he walked Williamson to load the bases and let another run score on a wild pitch. To add his his ineptitude on the mound, he walked his final hitter to once again load the bases with one out. The Owls brought in another struggling reliever in Preston Hill who got a groundout to get a force out at home. With two outs and the bases loaded, 3B Forrest Perron comes up with the ice cold two RBI single putting the game out of reach for the Owls. The Bearcats would tack on an insurance run with a McVey RBI single taking the game 11-5. A wild one to say the least as Cincy took advantage on momentum early and rode out with the easy victory. McVey and Wallace both led the team with two hits a piece and Atkinson (4-1) continues to roll. No team deserves to win committing seven errors and with eight walks given up, the Owls self inflicted wounds would flesh out.
The Owls, however, would bounce back in the series finisher on Sunday. With every game to the utmost importance in the American Athletic Conference, Temple has the opportunity to alter their lineups and staff in their final season competing. RP turned starter, Ryan Keuhn has been a plus for the Owls who needed a jolt into their starting rotation.
After the Bearcats went down in the first, LF Bobby Heitzman smoked a double with one out. 1B Robert Amaro provided the game’s first run driving in Heitzman with a single and DH Michael D’Acunti followed with a double driving in Amaro. Cincy had a runner on second with no outs in the second but failed to capitalize with a strikeout and a double play.
It wouldn’t be smooth sailing for the Owls, however, as Matt Williams and Rob Blisset Jr. both drove in runs with RBI singles in the third and fifth to tie the game at two. Heitzman would respond with a RBI single of his own in the fifth to put the Owls back on top after 2B Reyn Sugai laid down the sac bunt to move Josh Mason to second.
Keuhn stayed in for the sixth and despite allowing a runner to reach second, got 3B Ryan Quinn to ground out and end the threat. Temple called for RP Tim McCarthy in the seventh. The sophomore struggled mightily in his last two starts giving up a combined six runs and got into a jam with runners on second and third with two outs. Luckily for the Owls, he got Blissett Jr. to strike out protecting the lead into the bottom half of the seventh.
Cincinnati fumbled two plays to start off the inning putting runners on first and third with no outs. It was clutch time for Heitzman but couldn’t add to his already impressive day striking out. 3B Derek Peterson, however, brought home the insurance run on a groundout as Cincy’s mishaps were taking form.
Bearcats’ starter Mitch Patishall allowed Amaro and D’Acunti to reach loading the bases with two outs but CF Jimmie Kerrigan popped up to end the inning. The Owls called for closer Zach Batchelor for the six out save. The dependable righty would give up a double in the eighth and hit a batter to put two men on and two outs but would come through getting a groundout to hold the lead at two.
PH David Hall led off the eighth for Temple with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an error. With the bases loaded, Sugai drove him in with a single off RP Grant Walker while Heitzman and Peterson followed with sac flies to push the lead to five. That was enough for Batchelor as the closer had no serious problem in the ninth to cap off a 7-2 win for the Owls and the series.
Temple (9-15, 5-4) heads to New Jersey Tuesday to face Monmounth in a non-conference matchup.