– Battling to within one run twice, the Temple baseball team was edged by conference foe Duquesne, 8-6, in the series opener at Duquesne Field on Friday afternoon. Redshirt-sophomore Steve Nikorak
led the Owls going two-for-five with a home run, driving in three runs.
Junior Byron McKoy
led off the game with a single, quickly getting the hit he needed to extend his conference and overall hit streak to 14 games. He would be caught stealing on during sophomore Jabair Khan
's at bat, with Khan and the next batter in junior Adrian Perez
flying out to end the inning.
Owls' starter junior Ben White
got off to a solid start in the first inning, forcing two fly outs a fanning one batter to get out of the frame.
Duquesne got on the board posting three runs off of White on three hits and an error in the bottom of the second. The Owls' junior would buckle down to toss another scoreless frame in the third, but the Dukes came right back with three more runs in the fourth to put TU down 6-0.
Temple cut the deficit to one in the fifth, rallying for five runs on four hits. Junior Ben Flanary
and freshman Henry Knabe
started things off with back-to-back singles, advancing to second and third on a groundout from freshman David Hall
. Flanary plated on a balk by DU's Robert Corsi, who walked McKoy to put runners on the corners. A double from Khan scored Knabe, moving McKoy to third who crossed home easily on a two-run home run to left-center field from redshirt-sophomore Steve Nikorak
White settled down in the bottom of the frame, striking out the first two batters and forcing a groundout to retire the side in order.
The Dukes stretched their lead to 7-5 with one run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Owls quickly cut it down to 7-6 with one run in the top of the seventh. Reaching on an error by the DU third baseman, Hall advanced to second on single from Khan and moved to third on a wild pitch. Nikorak stepped in with a single to right field to score Hall for TU.
One from Duquesne put the home team up 8-6 heading into the eighth, where both hurlers threw scoreless frames. The Owls were unable to put together a rally in the top of the ninth, falling by the final score of 8-6.
White (3-6) went the distance for Temple, ringing up 11 hitters for his third double-digit strikeout performance this season.
DU's Corsi (1-3) earned the win, throwing the minimum scattering six hits.
Temple is now 11-35, 7-15 in Atlantic 10 play, while Duquesne moves to 14-37, 8-14. Game two at Duquesne Field is slated for 1:00 p.m. Saturday.