Mired in a five game losing streak, heading into Saturday’s late game against Central Arkansas, the Owls had several places to look for improvement. The defense had been dismal, having made 15 errors during the five-game stretch. The offense had also failed to produce good results. Temple had scored only 10 runs in the past five games, while striking out 42 times, drawing 16 walks and stranding 45 baserunners.
The one bright spot for the Owls had been their pitching. Right-handed sophomore Kelsey Dominik led the Owls with an ERA of 2.21, with freshman right-hander Amanda Gatt just behind her with a 2.94 ERA.
But when the Owls faced off with the Bears, that bright spot vanished. The Owls’ pitching collapsed, as Temple was swamped by Central Arkansas in six innings, 11-3.
Right-handed senior Brooklin White started the game for the Owls and quickly got into trouble in the second inning. After striking out the first batter, White loaded the bases, allowing two singles and a walk. The first run of the game came home when White hit the next batter with a pitch. The Bear’s Sam Forrest then blew the game open with a grand slam. White got the next two batters out, but the damage was done.
Coach Joe DiPietro replaced White with Gatt to start the fourth, but Gatt had no answer for the Central Arkansas lineup either. Gatt gave up four runs on three hits, walking two and hitting one batter with a pitch.
Senior right-hander Kylie Kristovich came in to relieve Gatt in the fifth. Although Kristovich pitched better than the Owls’ previous pitchers, she was also unable to shut down the Central Arkansas offense. The first two Bears’ batters she faced went down, but then Kristovich allowed a double, walked a batter and gave up an RBI single for Central Arkansas’ 10th run.
The Temple offense put up a fair showing, but never closed the gap. The team’s best work was with the long ball. Third baseman Devynne Nelons homered to start the Temple half of the third inning and Kastner hit a two-run shot, driving in Annie Marcopolus, in the fifth inning.
The defense, which had been the Owls’ other trouble spot, held firm for most of the game. But in the sixth, an errant throw to third by freshman second baseman Jessica Haug allowed two unearned runs to score, putting the score at 12-3. But because of softball’s eight-run rule, the game was declared over and the score ruled 11-3.
Temple will try to end its seven-game losing streak against Mount St. Mary in its last game of the USF Under Armour Invitational on Sunday at 9 a.m.
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.