The Owls finished off their season-opening road trip on Saturday, losing in a mercy-rule game to Akron, 8-0, before rallying to beat Saint Peter’s, 6-5.
“It’s been a disappointing trip for us,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “We’re 7-11, and with the exception of two games, we should have won every one of them.”
When the Owls faced Akron, the Zips consistently put runners on base, and scored in the first, third, fifth and sixth.
“I thought our pitching was poor,” DiPietro said. “We had a lot of walks, a lot of hit batters. We just didn’t play with the intensity we needed.”
Junior right-hander Jessica Mahoney started the game for Temple, and gave up eight runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings. Mahoney hit four batters, walked five and struck out none.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the score 6-0, Mahoney loaded the bases with one out. DiPietro replaced Mahoney with senior righty Brooklin White, and White threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. The next batter grounded out to second, but another run came home on the play, and the game ended there, due to the eight-run mercy rule.
The Owls’ offense also came out flat against Akron. Temple had three hits, walked once and struck out six times. In the second inning, the Owls put runners on first and second with two outs, but senior third baseman Devynne Nelons struck out swinging to end the inning. It was the only time the Owls threatened to score.
Part of the Owls’ offensive struggles against the Zips was due to injuries. Senior catcher/first baseman Stephanie Pasquale broke a finger in Temple’s first game against Niagara on Tuesday. DiPietro said Pasquale will be out for at least a month, and described her injury as a “huge loss.” In that same game, the Owls lost junior outfielder Lacey McKeon, who suffered a concussion. Freshman infielder Jessica Haug also sustained a concussion while playing against Manhattan on Friday.
“Hopefully Lacey and Jess Haug can come back sometime this week, get back to practicing, if they pass the concussion test,” DiPietro said. “We’re just going to have to play it by ear otherwise.”
Against Saint Peter’s, the Owls again fell behind early because of a shaky performance from their starting pitcher.
“I thought we were poor again,” DiPietro said. “[Freshman right-hander] Amanda Gatt pitched in the beginning and did not pitch well.”
Gatt gave up five runs on four hits in the second inning, and after three innings was replaced with sophomore righty Kelsey Dominik.
“[Dominik] pretty much shut them down the rest of the way,” DiPietro said.
The Peacocks managed only two hits against Dominik, who walked two and struck out four.
Temple freshman left fielder Toni Santos started the offense for the Owls, singling home a run in the first. The Owls scored a second run in the third, and had the bases loaded with one out. But freshman catcher Kaylyn Zierke struck out swinging and White struck out looking to end the inning.
“We had some more chances, and we just didn’t execute until the end,” DiPietro said.
The Owls staged a rally in the sixth inning. Temple loaded the bases with one out, and then an RBI groundout by junior right fielder Julia Kastner drew the score to 5-3. Senior shortstop Sarah Prezioso followed this with a single, and two runs came home to tie the score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Owls quickly put the game away. Two singles placed runners on the corners with no outs, and then another single from Zierke gave Temple the walk-off win.
Temple added to their injury list during the game, however. Sophomore second baseman Leah Lucas cut her leg and is listed as day-to-day.
“She can just about walk,” DiPietro said. “So [with] not practicing this week, she should be fine after that.
“We’re really short-handed,” DiPietro added. “It’s been kind of patchwork. We’re not really getting the production we need out of people.”
Overall, DiPietro said the team has not played very well in any aspect of the game, but he remains optimistic that everything can change.
“We just didn’t get hits when we needed them, and we haven’t pitched that great,” DiPietro said. “Hopefully [when] we get back we’ll be able to spend this next week outside a little and practice. And hopefully we’ll be able to get things righted as we come back home.”
The Owls are scheduled to return to Ambler and play a doubleheader against Delaware State on Wednesday, with the first game starting at 3 p.m. The Ambler stadium, however, is still covered in snow, DiPietro said. He does not expect that the games will be played.
If the Owls are forced to reschedule their matchup, the team will not play again until Tuesday, Mar. 18, in a doubleheader against Villanova at Ambler, with the first game at 3 p.m.
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.