Stephanie Pasquale’s hitting streak ended Saturday, April 20, at 21 games, but she’d probably be the last person who would mention it.
“It’s nice to have but I wasn’t really thinking,” the junior catcher said. “If I have a streak, I have a streak. That’s it.”
When Pasquale’s streak hit double-digits at the end of March, she didn’t know. The mentality made it easier to focus, although coach Joe DiPietro said getting early hits probably helped.
“Most of the games she had gotten a hit early in the game so that pressure was off real quick,” DiPietro said. “But I think in the Monmouth game because it started to go 0-for-1, 0-for-2, 0-for-3 she started to feel it.”
In the 3-2 loss to Saint Louis on Saturday, Pasquale started out 0-2 once again, and DiPietro said he noticed his biggest offensive threat start to press.
“The first game I pushed a lot, because I saw that everyone else was struggling just like I was so I wanted to get a hit so I could get a run in,” Pasquale said.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Pasquale added. “I had one of those days where it wasn’t my day the first game, which happens to everyone…but then I got over it and I knew I needed to play defense.”
Pasquale went 0-3 against the Billikens in the first game of the double-header, all of which were groundouts.
“Just wasn’t in sync in the first game for whatever reason,” DiPietro said. “And maybe it’ll be a good thing if she can get that pressure off her out there and continue to play.”
But while the streak may have ended suddenly, it certainly left a huge impact on the stat sheet.
In addition to Pasquale’s 21-game hitting streak, she had a streak of 23 games in which she reached base safely. During that span, she hit .558 with a .605 on-base percentage. Her seven home runs during the streak alone rank tied for seventh in Owls’ history for a season. She has 11 home runs on the year, tied for second in a season all-time at Temple.
In 21 games, Pasquale smacked nine doubles, five off of Temple’s previous single-season record. She’s shattered that record this season, with 18 total. Her 55 runs batted in this season currently has beaten the previous record by 12.
This past week, Pasquale jumped up to the fourth highest batting average in the nation. She leads the conference by more than 50 percentage points with a .469 average, among with at least 80 plate appearances. She also sits atop the Atlantic 10 Conference in total bases (112), doubles and RBIs and is near the top in several other categories.
“I don’t even know,” Pasquale said about why she’s having a record-setting season. “I guess it’s just because I’m just playing and I’m not thinking as much. I guess I’m more relaxed when I’m up to bat…I guess I’m just having one of those years.”
The culmination of the streak came against St. Bonaventure on April 7 when Pasquale went 9-for-9 in a double-header with seven runs scored, 11 RBIs and four home runs.
“If you could bottle it, you bottle that,” DiPietro said after those games. “It was phenomenal. It was a crazy performance.”
But with the streak over it’s back to normal throughout the rest of the season. With the pressure off, Pasquale can get back to focusing just on softball.
“I don’t like to have stuff on me, because sometimes I think it makes you do worse,” Pasquale said.
The good news for the Owls, who went 2-2 on the weekend against Saint Louis and Butler, is Pasquale showed no signs of hitting a slump after losing the streak.
Pasquale went 4-for-9 with three runs scored, three RBIs, a home run and struck out for just the second time this season in the final three games of the week after losing the streak.
“She had two hits in the second game [against Saint Louis] so I’m not worried about her at all,” DiPietro said. “I don’t think a slump is anywhere in her future the way she swings. She just had one game where she got a little anxious, and it happens. It’s not the end of the world. It’s nice if she would’ve kept it going.”
That’s good for the Owls, who are fighting to climb back to the top of the A-10. Streak or no streak, Pasquale simply wants to focus on winning the rest of the season.
“Now we are pressured to win pretty much all of the rest of our games,” Pasquale said. “But I think we’ll be fine.”
Jake Adams can be reached at email@example.com
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