Owls Unable To Complete Comeback Against UMass; Falls 11-9 In Season Finale

Owls Unable To Complete Comeback Against UMass; Falls 11-9 In Season Finale

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AMBLER, Pa. – Temple closed out the 2013 season with an 11-9 loss to the Massachusetts Minutemen at Skip Wilson Field on Saturday afternoon. The Owls trailed by as many as seven runs, but displayed their resiliency and nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback in the season finale

It was a game that signified the end to many things for Temple.

Seven senior players: Matt Elko, Henry Knabe, Dan Moller, Jordan Queja, Allen Stiles, Steve Visnic and Elijah Yarborough all put on the Cherry and White for one last time and were honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. With playoff implications out of the picture, Temple was not only putting a cap on the 85th season in program history, but its last ever Atlantic 10 Conference game, as it will officially become a member of the American Athletic Conference on July 1.

Just as it did in the second game of Friday's doubleheader, Massachusetts threw runs up on the scoreboard in the first inning, scoring two unearned runs off starter Dan Moller.  The Minutemen went on to put up a three spot in the third inning to extend its lead to 5-0 before TU had an answer.

In the fourth, freshman Jimmy Kerrigan got the first hit of the game for the Owls off of UMass starter Aaron Plunkett, who came in 0-7 on the year before picking up the win. The hit by Kerrigan was the beginning of the Owls' offense finding ways to beat Plunkett.

Redshirt junior Daniel Dragos got TU on the board with a big blast to lead off the fifth inning. A home run over the left field pulled the Owls within four runs and started a streak of five straight innings in which the Owls scored runs. Sophomore Nick Lustrino worked to continue the momentum by slapping a base knock into left field for the 100th hit of his career. Lustrino was stranded 90 feet away from home plate and finished 1-for-5 with a four-pitch walk in the ninth.

UMass and Tempe exchanged runs in the sixth inning. Elko, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, crossed the plate in the home half of the sixth after reaching base with a double to make it, 6-2 UMass.

Temple got another offensive spark to start the seventh inning on Yarborough's leadoff solo home run. Yarborough's dinger went over the left field wall and was the highlight of his 2-for-4 day, which included three RBI. 

In the eighth when Temple had the bases loaded with no outs, Yarborough pounded out a single that allowed junior Derek Peterson and pinch runner Jordan Queja to score and make it an 11-6 game. The Owls pulled within three on a fielder's choice by Allen Stiles and an error committed by UMass.

Looking to pull out the heroics in the ninth, TU had the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth, but were limited to only one run.

Moller closed out his Temple career with a line of 4.1 IP through which he was charged with three of the five runs on seven hits and a walk. Fellow redshirt senior Steve Visnic took over in the middle of the fifth and became the first pitcher in Temple history to appear in 100 ballgames.

Zach White, Connor Staskey and Phil Gianakos all threw one inning of relief. White and Gianakos tossed perfect innings.

Temple closes the 2013 campaign with a 18-28 overall and 7-17 in Atlantic 10 Conference play and will now begin preparing for its inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference.

Temple Baseball 2013 Senior Day

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