PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You would be hard-pressed to find a team in the Northeast playing better baseball right now than the Temple Owls.

A 6-5, come-from-behind victory over Monmouth University on Monday was the Owls’ tenth win in a row.

Temple head coach Rob Valli (at left in photo) says confidence levels are indeed high on his team these days.

“We just expect to win,” Valli told KYW Newsradio this morning.  “And that’s a strong thing to have coming out of your dugout, even playing from behind like we did on Sunday (11-7 win over St. Peter’s), down five runs early and then playing from behind yesterday against a very good Monmouth team.  We just never feel like we are out of the game and we are just waiting to see who it’s going to be to step up and have a big hit or make a big defensive play.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach Rob Valli in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

One thing is for sure, this Temple team gets more than its share of big hits.  The Owls lead the nation in batting, with a lusty .378 average.

While there are many players responsible for a number like that, Valli says a couple of guys have really stood out so far this season.

“(Redshirt junior infielder) Steve Nikorak [at right in photo] was Atlantic-10 and Big 5 Player of the Week last week; he’s hitting .440 for us right now with three home runs and a slugging percentage of .693.   The other guy is Ryan Ferguson, a senior lefthanded hitter who we have asked to play three different positions this year (C, 1B, RF).  He’s ninth in the country in RBIs (27) and really just given us a boost in the middle of our lineup.  He’s hit safely in all 18 of our games,” Valli notes.

Temple is 13-5 overall and 7-0 at home in Ambler, at Skip Wilson Field.   The current ten-game winning streak is Temple’s longest since a ten-gamer back in 1985.

The Owls will open Atlantic 10 play this weekend, visiting Xavier.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.
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