ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. –
After one time through the lineup, Temple got all the support sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Hockenberry
and the Owls would need to upend the Bonnies' five-run eighth inning rally, to win 8-6, at Fred Handler Park on Friday afternoon. The Bonnies threatened again in the ninth, getting their first two men on base and in scoring position, but redshirt junior Steve Visnic
allowed his teammates to exhale as he nailed down the door and picked up his second save of the season along with sole possession of second place on Temple's all-time list of appearances with his 82nd career call out of the bullpen.
Southpaw Eddie Gray, making his start for the Bonnies, had nasty stuff through the first 2.1 innings of work. In his first at-bat of the season, Junior Jordan Queja
beat him on a 2-2 pitch with a leadoff single. Gray retired the next seven batters—five on strikes.
Junior Allen Stiles
ended the drought, slugging a base hit down the left field line before Queja hit for the second straight time. Junior Elijah Yarborough
came to the plate and got Temple's third straight hit to juice bases.
Batting cleanup for the third straight game, senior Foster Dunigan
gave the Owls a comfortable lead with two outs, as he poked another single—this one through the left side. Playing the ball out in left, the St. Bonaventure fielder committed an error on the throw, allowing Dunigan to sneak into second and head coach Ryan Wheeler
to wave Stiles, Queja and Yarborough all the way home.
The Owls were not done pouring on the damage. With two men aboard, redshirt junior Matt Elko
cleared the bases with a two-run RBI triple, making it 5-0. Elko, who had a bases-clearing two-run double Thursday against the Bonnies, now has five RBI in the series
With Elko 90 feet away, redshirt freshman Connor Reilly
took hold of a 1-0 pitch and slammed it over the left field fence for his fourth homer of the season and his second in the last three games.
After sending nine men to the plate in the third to bat around, Gray regained the consistency he started with, as he set the Owls down in order in the fourth.
But, in the fifth with Yarborough leading off the frame, the Owls built on their six-run lead by adding two more. Dunigan collected another RBI, as he laced a single up the middle to score Yarbrough, who led off the inning with a two-base hit.
With redshirt senior Steve Nikorak
on the basepaths after dropping a single into left field, Reilly rounded out the Owls' scoring for the afternoon, as he lifted a sacrifice fly to give temple a very commanding 8-0 lead.
Throwing 16 runs on the scoreboard on Thursday, it would only be a matter of time until the Bonnies offense would find itself in Friday's contest.
In the sixth, St. Bonaventure finally found a way to solve Hockenberry, who had an outstanding performance on his way to a staff-leading fifth win of the season.
With two men on and two outs, Justin Brozick helped the Bonnies get their first run of the game by doubling into right center field, allowing Austin Ingraham to cross the dish.
Hockenberry got out of the inning and exited it the ballgame with a line of six full innings of work, in which he allowed one run on five hits and four walks, while striking out three.
Freshman Adam Dian
came one to pitch for the Owls after Dunigan and Elko each pounded out a hit in the top of the frame, but were left stranded.
Dian had a superb outing, as he set the Bonnies down in order—striking out one and getting two to fly out in the seventh.
When senior Brant Norlander
took over in the eight, the Bonnies tortured him.
Norlander recorded the first out when he got leadoff batter Ryan Skellie to fly out to left, but then the Bonnies starting plugging away at the deficit.
After a one out walk to Ingraham, Mike Grieco blasted a pitch over the left field wall, to reduce Temple's lead down to 8-3 on the two-run dinger.
Following Nick Brennen's groundout, the Bonnies threw two more up on the board before the inning was over. Jason Radwan was the first to face senior Brian Sustersic
after an Owls' pitching change and greeted him with a two-base hit to score two runners that were already on base.
Billy Urban slapped another hit through the left side, keeping the inning alive and bringing the Bonnies closer, as Radwan crossed the plate to knock down the former eight-run lead to just a two-point cushion.
Temple (19-30, 7-13) has tied St. Bonaventure (19-23, 7-13) in the Atlantic 10 standing with the win and will now look to take the weekend series when the teams meet for the series rubber match Saturday at Noon. A win by the Owls not only earns them the series clincher, but will also give them an A-10 series win for the third straight weekend—making it the first time since 2001 that that has been accomplished.