FROM TEMPLE RELEASE
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (2/24/08) – Freshman Byron McKoy (Charlotte, NC / Independence) hit a three-run homerun to highlight a six-run eighth inning to give Temple a 9-6 come-from-behind victory over Bethune-Cookman in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader at Jackie Robinson Park. The Owls dropped the opener to the defending MEAC Champions, 5-1.
McKoy (4-for-5) had to work for his first collegiate homerun, fouling off six straight pitches with a full count as part of an 11-pitch at-bat. With the Owls trailing 5-3, the Charlotte, NC native crushed Felix Machado’s next offering over the fence in right-center to give TU the lead.
“We think he could be really special,” third-year head coach Rob Valli said of McKoy. “He really stepped up when we needed him today.”
Junior Mark Ortega (Palm Beach Gardens, FL / Palm Beach Gardens / Boston College), who had three hits in game two, followed with a triple to left and later scored on a wild pitch. A single by junior Carmen Del Mastro (Philadelphia, PA / Roman Catholic) and walks to junior Kyle Obal (Derwood, MD / Sherwood) and sophomore Matt Heltz (Garyville, LA / St. Charles Catholic) loaded the bases for junior Lenny DelGrippo (Collegeville, PA / Kennedy-Kenrick), who was looking for his first hit of the day.
The Collegeville, PA product delivered with a two-run single to left to give the Owls some breathing room and a 9-5 lead.
Senior Arshwin Asjes (Willemstad, Curacao / Cheverus-ME), in his new role as the team’s closer, struck out the first two batters in the eighth before giving up a home run to Chris Brown. He settled down to notch his first career save in relief of winning pitcher Jordan Cannon (Reading, PA / Exeter).
The freshman southpaw (1-0) pitched two-thirds of an inning without allowing a run to pick up his first collegiate victory.
“Jordan pitched well for us today,” Valli said. “He didn’t look like a freshman out there.”
Junior Matt Mongiardini (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East) started and threw six innings, surrendering three earned runs, all in the first inning. He struck out six batters and allowed just two hits in his first start of the season. The right-hander retired 17 of the next 19 batters and left with the score knotted at 3-3.
Machado (0-1) suffered the loss for the Wildcats, allowing six earned runs in 0.1 innings.
In game one, Bethune-Cookman (1-1) opened a tight game up with three runs in its final two at-bats to win the season opener for both teams, 5-1. Senior Tom Dolan (Bensalem, PA / Archbishop Ryan) suffered the loss after allowing two earned runs in four innings.
The Owls (1-1) managed just six hits in the contest and scored their only run on a triple by Obal in the second.
Hiram Burgos (1-0) picked up the win after allowing one earned run in 6.1 innings for BCU. He struck out five batters. Conception Guzman pitched the final 1.2 innings for the save.
The two teams will meet on Monday morning at 11 AM in the series finale. Senior Mike Mongiardini (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East / Yale) will make his first start for the Cherry and White after transferring from Yale. The Wildcats will send junior Eric Thomas to the mound.
NOTES: The series was originally slated to start on Friday, but Temple’s travel plans were changed due to the snow that fell in the Philadelphia region…Today’s games marked the first between the two schools…Temple is now 6-1 against teams from the MEAC…The Owls will face off with two more MEAC schools, Delaware State and Maryland-Eastern Shore, later this season.