The Owls struggled against American Athletic Conference rival Louisville on Saturday, dropping the opening game of the series in five innings, 14-6; and then getting blanked in the late game, 5-0.
In the early game, neither team scored in the first inning. The Owls went down in order, and the Cardinals failed to score after putting runners on the corners with two outs.
Temple again went quietly in the second, but Owls’ sophomore right-hander Kelsey Dominik could not contain the Louisville bats in the bottom of the frame. The Cardinals advanced runners to second and third with two outs, and then their offense exploded. Louisville sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored six runs on five hits and two walks.
Senior third baseman Devynne Nelons homered for Temple in the top of the third to cut Louisville’s lead to five. But Louisville responded in the bottom of the inning. Taner Fowler led off with a solo home run, and Owls’ coach Joe DiPietro moved Dominik to first and put senior righty Brooklin White in at pitcher. Louisville scored two more runs off of White to take a 9-1 lead heading to the fourth.
After Dominik and freshman catcher Kaylyn Zierke singled, sophomore center fielder Annie Marcopolus knocked a three-run shot over the wall in left center to make the score 9-4.
But the Cardinals’ offense was unstoppable. Louisville scored four runs on four hits to take a commanding nine-run lead.
The Owls were clutch in the top of the fifth, scoring twice to prevent the Cardinals from winning by the eight-run mercy rule. But Louisville scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to win by the run-rule anyway, 14-6.
The Owls were dominated in the late game by Louisville pitcher Caralisa Connell, who allowed just two hits, both singles, over seven innings, while walking none and striking out 12.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Amanda Gatt started the game for the Owls. The Cardinals’ hitters got to her early, plating three runs in the second and two runs in the third.
Gatt settled down after that and finished out the game, ending with a line of five runs on nine hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. But those five runs were enough for Louisville, as they won, 5-0.
The Owls will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday, with the first pitch coming at noon.
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.