Temple University Athletics

Four-Run Seventh Lifts Owls to 5-3 Win Over Monmouth; Saturday's Game Postponed
Temple and Monmouth will reconvene the series Sunday at Skip Wilson Field at Noon
Nikorak and Yarborough
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WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. –
Senior Dan Moller went a season-long 5.0 innings of work and put forth his best pitching performance of the season, while the offense brought nine men to the plate in the seventh inning to uncap a four-run bombshell, which paced the Owls to a 5-3 win over the Monmouth Hawks on Friday afternoon at Kessler Field.  

Following the game, it was decided by both teams that Saturday's game, which is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., will be postponed due to heavy rain in the forecast. Temple and Monmouth will now have a day in between games, before resorting to Ambler, Pa. for Sunday's series finale at Skip Wilson Field, which is scheduled for Noon.

As for Friday's contest, Moller struck out a career-high six batters and allowed two runs on six hits. His solid outing kept the Owls in the ballgame, as the team trailed just 2-1 at the point of his departure.

Compliments of a four-run seventh inning that ignited Temple to the win, senior Brant Norlander collected his second victory of the season. The win helps Temple adjust its record to 11-15 on the year and gives it its seventh win in the last nine non-conference games. Monmouth drops to 13-11 on the year and loses at home only for the second time this season.

Hawks' starter Pat Light endured the loss, while senior Brian Sustersic pitched out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the ninth to slam the door shut on the threat and to notch his fourth save of the season.

The Owls jumped on the board first. After doubling to get on base, senior center fielder Jabair Khan stole third base and then scored  on a throwing error by the catcher to put his team up, 1-0.

In their half of the inning, the Hawks tied the contest at one. With two runners already on, Ed Martin reached base on a field error at second base, which allowed Jon Guida to score on the play.

Light settled in as the game continued. The right-hander who has been clocked with a speed of 95-97 mph on his fastball set the Owls down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings, pitching all 1-2-3 innings before his exit.

Moller pitched effective for the Owls, as well. In the third, he rung up the first two batters on strikes before getting Owen Stewart to ground out to end the inning. The left-hander from Schnecksville, Pa. got out of a jam the next inning. After giving up a one-out triple, he was able to get Kyle Perry to ground to Steve Nikorak at third base, who threw out Josh Boyd heading for home; giving Perry the fielder's choice.

Leading off the bottom of the fifth inning, Jake Gronsky led off the frame and read the first pitch of the at bat from Moller perfectly, as he smashed a towering homer run over the center field wall to put Monmouth up, 2-1 at that point. Despite allowing two more base runners in the inning, Moller worked his way out of another tough inning by mowing down two more batters on K's and getting Stewart to line out.

With Norlander in the game and on the mound for the Owls in the sixth, the senior right-hander set down the side in order with a ground out, strikeout and a pop out to move the Owls to the seventh, where they brought the damage that would win them the game.

Temple put its first two batters on base, as Nikorak led off with a walk before redshirt junior Matt Elko singled through the left side. Senior Taylor Juran gave himself a 2-for-3 day when he moved both runners into scoring position on his sacrifice bunt before redshirt freshman Connor Reilly delivered the two-run RBI single to put the Owls ahead, 3-2.

In the next at-bat, Khan came to the plate and smoked a pitch to left center field to tack on a run scored by Reilly. Later in the inning and still with only one out (Juran's sac bunt) Dunigan laced a base hit through the left hole to put Temple ahead, 5-2. The run for Khan was his second of the day during his 2-for-3 afternoon.

The Hawks would regain one of the runs in their half of the seventh when Guida scored on Tim Bickford's sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

Redshirt junior Steve Visnic came in to play the setup role in the eighth inning. The right-hander got the first two outs before giving up a double, but managed to come away unharmed by getting Gronsky to ground out to end the inning.

Sustersic closed out the victory for the Owls, who earned their first win in a series opener this season.

When Temple and Monmouth meet on Sunday at Skip Wilson Field, sophomore right-hander Matt Hockenberry will be in search of his fourth win of the season, as he battles Monmouth left-hander Dan Smith.