Senior first baseman Adrienne Repsher needs just one home run to become Temple’s all-time home run leader, but she wasn’t the one slamming the ball over the fences for the softball team Saturday.
The Owls displayed their power at the plate with three different players swatting home runs in a 7-3 victory over La Salle at Good Shepherd Field Saturday. Jessica Rohn, Katie Burdeaux and Amanda Carver each went deep as the Owls improved to 6-11 overall and opened the Atlantic Ten Conference
with a 2-0 record.
The victory marked the Owls’ second win in as many days over their cross-town rival.”[Saturday] definitely says a lot about our team and the way from top-to-bottom we can pick each other up,” said Repsher, who went hitless in three at bats.
“Individual accomplishments are great, but most importantly we had to win these two games against La Salle and we were able to do that.”
Carver ignited the Owls’ offense in the third inning when she launched a two-run missile over the left-center field fence off La Salle pitcher Laura Beth McCreesh. The homer scored junior Brittany Burks, who had doubled before Carver.The home run came as a surprise to Carver, whose longball Saturday was the first of her Temple career.
“I was really just trying to get a base hit,” Carver said. “She threw me a pitch right down the middle. I took a good swing and it went over the fence.”
Pitcher Ashley Smuda notched her fifth win of the season by turning in another solid performance on the mound. The true freshman rang up six Explorers and allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Burdeaux took McCreesh deep in the sixth with a solo shot over the left field fence, which allowed Temple to take a 3-1 advantage.
But the Owls made some errors in the bottom half, allowing two hitters to reach base. La Salle’s Angelina Bisbiglia made the Owls pay by lacing a two-out, two-run single which knotted the game at 3. Jen Street then doubled, moving runners to second and third. After Smuda surrendered a walk to her opposing pitcher, McCreesh, the bases were juiced.
Second-year coach Casey Dickson pulled Smuda and looked to Burdeaux to get the Owls out of the jam.
The move paid off as Burdeaux forced La Salle’s Kate Gulkis to harmlessly ground out to first to close out the sixth.
“Ashley pitched every single inning for us [Friday],” Dickson said of her decision to pull Smuda. “She pitched a great game, but we just knew it was time to go get her.”
Burdeaux admitted to feeling anxious as she entered the tie game with the bases loaded.”There were definitely some nerves,” Burdeaux said. “I haven’t been pitching my best, but this will help with my confidence for the next time I pitch.”
The Owls entered the seventh looking to regain the lead and perhaps get some breathingroom. That is exactly what they did.
Junior Natalie Wagner drew a leadoff walk. Brittany Burks then hit a slow roller back to the pitcher and beat the throw to first base for an infield single. Junior Anna Rico came up big, lacing a ground-rule double down the right field line to score Wagner from second and give the Owls a 4-3 lead. Rohn then rose to the occasion for the Owls by belting a three-run homer off of newly entered Lea Corcoran.
Rohn’s three-run shot was her second hit of the day, the most by any Owl. But Burdeaux was not quite out of the woods yet, as the sophomore surrendered back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the inning. La Salle’s Mary Pat Conville blooped a single into shallow right center field to load the bases.
Burdeaux regained her composure and gloved a sharply hit ground ball by Laura Dezolt and started an unconventional 1-2-3 double play. Burdeaux then induced Michelle Sullivan to pop out for the final out of the game, giving Burdeaux her first save of the season.
Dickson expressed her pleasure with her team’s ability to handle the adversity and win a tight ball game.
“The positive side is the way our club was challenged today,” Dickson said. “They were able to handle some tough situations and respond and really come to it offensively when it was needed.”
The Owls next face another cross-town rival when they head to Penn to face the Quakers
in a doubleheader Wednesday.
Mike Fiscus can be reached at email@example.com.