FROM CBB NEWS RELEASE
AMBLER, PA (4/13/08) – One day after his brother Matt shut down the potent Richmond offense, senior Mike Mongiardini (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East / Yale) did not allow an earned run in 5.1 innings of three-hit baseball to lead Temple to a 11-1 win over the Spiders on Sunday at Skip Wilson Field. The series victory, the first over Richmond since UR joined the Atlantic 10 in 2002, propels the Owls into a third-place tie with Xavier in the conference standings. With a record of 8-4 in the A-10, the Owls (16-16) are off to their best start in the league since the 2001 team began 11-1.
“Mike pitched great,” head coach Rob Valli said. “We needed him to step up and he did exactly that. He moved the ball around in the zone and kept their hitters off-balance.”
After its worst loss of the season on Friday, the Cherry and White outplayed Richmond the rest of the weekend. Temple made just one error in its final two games and a shuffled batting order produced a season-high 16 hits on Sunday. Six Owls had at least two base knocks, including three each by senior Stan Orzechowski (Philadelphia, PA / Northeast Catholic) and freshman Byron McKoy (Charlotte, NC / Independence).
“We just tried to put some players in different roles to change their mentality a little bit,” Valli said. “It’s worked out for us.”
Mongiardini (2-2) settled in after hitting two batters to load the bases in the first. He escaped the jam on a line-out to leftfield and used the momentum to keep the Spiders to just one hit until the fifth. The southpaw left the game in the sixth, handing the ball over to sophomore Matt Blackburn (West Chester, PA / Gloucester Catholic-NJ), who combined with senior Arshwin Asjes (Willemstad, Curacao / Cheverus-ME) to allow only one hit the rest of the way.
“We’ve been happy the way the bullpen has pitched all season,” Valli said. “It’s been a real strength for us.”
Temple scored three runs in the first inning on five hits, as a fielder’s choice by junior Sean Barksdale (Glenolden, PA / Cardinal O’Hara) and single by senior Mike Kelch (Annandale, VA / WT Woodson) plated runs. The Owls had the bases loaded with nobody out in the second, but could not add to the lead. They broke the game open in the middle frames against Richmond starter Jared Bard and all-conference right-hander Alex Hale, scoring six runs to put the Spiders away.
Junior Jamie Abercrombie (Ambler, PA / Hatboro-Horsham) drove in classmate Kyle Obal (Derwood, MD / Sherwood), who reached third after his bunt single was thrown into right field. Kelch had an RBI single in the fifth and junior Mark Ortega (Palm Beach Gardens, FL / Palm Beach Gardens / Boston College) followed with a two-run single to make it 7-0.
Richmond answered with an unearned run in the sixth, but Temple responded with two unearned tallies in its half of the inning. Junior Carmen Del Mastro (Philadelphia, PA / Roman Catholic) reached on an error on scored from first when sophomore Matt Heltz’s (Garyville, LA / St. Charles Catholic) single was bobbled in right. Barksdale doubled home Heltz to give TU an eight-run lead.
Heltz knocked in another run on a groundout in the eighth and Barksdale added a RBI single to conclude the scoring. The junior knocked in a game-high three runs. Kelch and Ortega both had a pair of hits and two RBI.
Bard (2-5) suffered the loss for the Spiders, allowing four earned runs in four innings.
Temple returns to the diamond as part of a program-long 12-game homestand on Tuesday when it hosts Delaware (11-22) at 3 PM.
NOTES: This weekend marked the first time since March 15-16 at Rhode Island that both Mongiardini brothers picked up wins…Temple had lost three straight series to Richmond in A-10 play and 11 games overall before this weekend…Asjes has not allowed an earned run in 12 of 15 appearances this season…The Owls’ 16-16 record is the best record after 32 games since 2004 (18-14)…Temple is two games out of first place in the league behind Duquesne (10-2), who visits Skip Wilson Field next weekend…TU improved to 7-4 when scoring first and 9-3 when making one error or less.