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With 12 games under their belt, the Temple baseball team has finally returned to Ambler, where it will finally get to play in front of the home crowd. On Wednesday afternoon, the Owls will open their home slate when they take the diamond against the Lafayette Leopards at Skip Wilson Field. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. Junior right-hander Matt Hockenberry
will take the ball for his third start of the season and will be opposed by Lafayette freshman southpaw Ari Kaufaman.
Before yesterday's disappointing 9-6 loss at Longwood, the Owls were coming off a tough weekend series at UNC Asheville, where they went 1-2, including a pair of walk-off losses and a 7-2 win in the middle game of the set.
Temple (3-9) will look to Hockenberry to take them deep into the game. Hockenberry is 0-1 with a 9.32 ERA through two previous starts. The Owls' bullpen will be relied on to support their starting pitching, as well as the offense, which scored at least four runs in every game last weekend.
Lafayette is 2-9 after securing their first two wins of the season after splitting a four game set against Maryland Eastern Shore.
Junior Derek Peterson
had a strong weekend against UNC Asheville, as he went 4-for-13 with three runs scored and three RBI's including a solo homerun in the first game of the series. Peterson leads the team in homeruns (2) and RBI's (13) on the year. Senior Henry Knabe
leads the team in hitting (.410) and is tied with sophomore Nick Lustrino
for most hits on the squad with 16. Knabe already has one home run and has knocked in 10 runs.
Lustrino and senior Jordan Queja
have reached base in all 12 games this season. Lustrino started the year on a 10-game hitting streak and Queja has reached base in 16 straight games, dating back to last season.
Sophomore Eric Peterson
leads the team in wins on the season (2) after he secured the team's first win from their starting pitcher in the game during the second game of the weekend series against UNC Asheville. He pitched 5.0 innings allowing two earned runs on five hits to win his second game of the year. Peterson, who is used out of the bullpen, is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and nine strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched and a Big 5 Pitcher of the Week for the week ending Feb. 24.
The Leopards are coming off a series split last weekend when they won their first two games.
Lafayette's starting pitchers have ERAs above a 4.00 with a record of 1-8 from their four starting pitchers.
Senior Michael Massa is the only starter to record a win on the season when he beat Maryland Eastern Shore as he pitched 7.0 innings allowing one run on four hits in a dominant performance. He owns the lowest ERA (4.08) on the team of pitchers who have pitched more than 5.0 innings, and is 1-2 thus far.
On the offensive side, seniors Andrew Ruck and Kevin Casey are the team's leading hitters of players who have started 10 or more games. Ruck (.289) has 11 hits in 38 at-bats with one home run and five RBIs with an active streak of 10 games consecutively reaching base safely.
Casey (.273) has started every game recording nine hits in 33 at-bats hitting four doubles and one homerun.
Lafayette is coming off their strongest offensive performance of the season, which was a 15-run output against Maryland Eastern Shore in game two of the doubleheader on Sunday.