Bill Mendek struck out American's Darryl Mann with the bases loaded to end the game as Temple clinched the East Coast Conference's Eastern Division baseball title with a 6-4 victory yesterday in the second game of a doubleheader at AU.
American won the opener, 8-7, as Mann drove in five runs, three with an eighth-inning double.
The Eagles need to win one of two games with Hofstra at home Saturday to reach the ECC playoffs for the third straight year.
Leading, 4-1, in the second game, Temple (23-8, 9-1) scored the eventual game-winning run in the ninth when H.J. Lopes walked and scored on a triple by John Marzano.
Mendek (6-2) had given up five hits and one run entering the ninth, when the Eagles (12-16-1, 5-3) sent up nine batters and scored three runs. Steve Gobish, who homered in the eighth, hit a one-out bases-loaded single to make it 6-2. Rick Callender popped out, but Mendek walked Neal Schultz and Greg Wells to force in runs, then struck out Mann, who tried to check his swing.
In the opener, Mann's double gave American an 8-6 lead.