It took three innings to get on the board but the Owls were able to rebound one day after dropping both ends of a double-header.
Temple (21-20, 9-5 Atlantic 10 Conference) headed north after being swept by St. Louis (20-18, 8-6 A-10) to take on Butler (18-22, 7-7 A-10) in another A-10 double-header. The team sat tied for sixth in the conference heading in, trying to push back towards the top of the standings with the tournament only a few weeks away.
“[Losing] would have been a disaster for this team,” DiPietro said. “These are two must-win games and we had to have them.”
In the top of the third junior third baseman Devynne Nelons took a pitch over the leftfield fence for a solo homerun, sparking a four-run inning.
It was all freshman ace Kelsey Dominik (10-3) needed en route to a complete game, 7-3 win. Dominik took the mound 24 hours after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Billikens, going seven strong, striking out five and walking one. She did surrender 12 hits, however.
Coach Joe DiPietro said he had no choice but to throw her out there two days in-a-row because of the inconsistency of the rest of the pitching staff.
“She pitched good,” DiPietro said. “I thought it was necessary, it had to be done.”
Senior centerfielder Ali Robinson as the catalyst on offense for Temple, going 3-for-4 behind junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale with a run batted in. Pasquale, who’s 21-game hitting streak ended Saturday, went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI on a solo shot in the sixth.
Dominik struggled in the fourth and fifth, surrendering three RBI-singles in the two innings, but the Owls still led 6-3 and never faced a serious threat.
DiPietro sent sophomore Jessica Mahoney (4-10) to the mound in the second game. The decision worked, as Mahoney went the distance in a 5-2 win. She struck out eight against no walks and the Bulldogs got just six hits in the game.
“She pitched great,” DiPietro said. “Some days [the pitching staff looks] very, very good, other days the look not so very good
Mahoney gave up an RBI-single in the fourth, marking the first time the Owls trailed on the day, 1-0. Temple responded, however, a few innings later on a wild pitch that scored sophomore leftfielder Lacey McKeon.
In the top of the seventh with a 1-1 ballgame the Owls broke the game open. Sophomore rightfielder Julia Kastner knocked in junior Danile Raneri, who was pinch running for freshman second baseman Leah Lucas. Junior shortstop Sarah Prezioso walked with the bases load and Pasquale followed up with a single that scored two.
Butler made a dent in the seventh, with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2, but that was the closest they’d get.
The wins eased what started out as a bad weekend. DiPietro said the team could have fallen to eighth in the standings if they lost both games to the Bulldogs.
“They came out and they played hard and they made their at-bats count and they took advantage of some stuff,” DiPietro said.
“It would be inexcusable not to make the A-10s with all the talent we have,” DiPietro added. “They understood the severity of these games.”
The Owls now stand in fifth, ahead of Dayton, St. Louis and Butler. They don’t have another A-10 contest until April 26 against Rhode Island.
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jakeadams520.