The softball team went 2-2 in its home opening stretch.
Nearly three years to the day after the last Temple softball player threw a complete game no-hitter, senior pitcher Kristen Marris tossed five innings of no-hit softball to give the Owls a win in their home opener at Ambler.
“She threw the ball great,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “She got ahead of hitters, worked some great counts and put in a great performance.”
After spending the entire first three weeks of the season in warm, sunny Florida, the team returned to a much milder Ambler to start its home schedule off with doubleheaders against Delaware and Dayton.
In the first game, Marris handled the Blue Hens’ offense, allowing no hits, while walking three and striking out two. The offense held up its end by putting up twelve runs in the mercy-run-rule shutout. After winning Atlantic Ten Conference Rookie of the Week last week, freshman first baseman Stephanie Pasquale led off the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning.
“We expect that out of her now,” DiPietro said. “We knew what kind of player she would be when we recruited her.”
After the Cherry and White scored on a wild pitch in the second, Pasquale added an RBI single in the third, and junior outfielder Christina Sykora followed with a two-RBI double. Sophomore first baseman Gina Sciarrone added her own three-run home run in the fourth inning, which saw the Owls put five hits and five runs up on the scoreboard. Marris allowed two runners on base in the top of the fifth but then ended the game with a pop out to seal the win.
“I didn’t realize it was a no-hitter until my teammates and coach told me,” Marris said. “I was pretty excited. I didn’t feel like I had the best warm up, but I guess I did pretty well during the game.”
The Blue Hens flipped the script in the second game when they found their offense that had been so lost in the earlier game. This time, the Owls were the ones on the ropes, struggling to prevent a mercy-run-rule loss and not getting their first hit until the fourth inning.
Temple was able to score five late runs thanks to sophomore outfielder Ali Robinson’s three RBIs, but Delaware exposed its weak pitching. Freshman pitcher Brooklin White saw her record fall to 4-4 after giving up seven runs, four earned, over 3.2 innings.
“We haven’t been getting good pitching on a regular basis,” DiPietro said. “Our pitchers struggled with control. We got behind early, and we lost focus.”
Conference play opened with a split double header against Dayton on Sunday. The Owls lost 4-13 in the first game, before winning the nightcap, 10-5. In the early game, Temple was up 4-2 after four innings thanks to RBIs by Pasquale and Sykora. But things quickly unraveled thanks to three home runs by the Flyers in the fifth.
Overall, Dayton hit seven home runs, resulting in 12 out of its 13 runs.
Marris took the loss for Temple, allowing six runs and eight hits over 4.1 innings of work. The second game went much better for the home team, as White bounced back from her disappointing outing earlier in the week to get the win – her fifth of the season.
She pitched a complete game while allowing five runs on four hits. The offense backed her up, providing run support including home runs from Sciarrone and freshman third baseman Devynne Nelons. It was the first conference win for the Owls, who plated 10 runs in all.
DiPietro, in his third season at Temple after coming down Broad Street from La Salle, where he spent the previous six seasons, has the team off to a 10-12 start. That record is significantly better than the early season records of recent teams, but he admits he isn’t quite satisfied.
“I’m kind of disappointed,” DiPietro said. “We’re young and inconsistent right now. We have a ton of talent, but we haven’t been able to click on all cylinders yet with any type of consistency.”
The Owls have a chance to work on that next week when they face University of Maryland Baltimore County on the road before coming back home for two big games against A-10 defending champion, Massachusetts.
“They’re coming here, and they have some of the best pitching, so we have to be able to match that. But they lost a lot of players to graduation from last year, so this is a great chance for us,” DiPietro said.
Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.