Sarah Prezioso had a record-setting day on Tuesday, as the Owls swept their doubleheader against Lafayette, 4-0 and 10-1.
Prezioso entered the first game needing one stolen base to set Temple’s all-time stolen base record, and she wasted no time against the Leopards. Prezioso led off the game with a single, and then immediately stole second for her 52nd career stolen base.
The rest of the team, however, took a bit longer to find a groove. Heading into today’s games, the Owls had played only three games since March 8.
“You can tell we haven’t played in a while,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “And it showed in the first game. We weren’t really sharp. A little out of sync. I thought we got better as the game went on.”
The Owls scored in the second and third innings on RBI singles from junior right fielder Julia Kastner and freshman catcher Kaylyn Zierke, while Temple’s starting pitcher – sophomore right-hander Kelsey Dominik – kept Lafayette off balance.
In the fifth inning, Prezioso hit a double – her 200th career hit. Prezioso is the only Temple softball player to have reached the 200-hit plateau.
“A huge milestone.” DiPietro said. “Prezioso had a really amazing day, setting all kinds of records.”
Later in the fifth, Dominik drove Prezioso in to put the Owls up by three, and then in the seventh, Dominik hit her third home run of the season to put the score up to 4-0.
On the mound, Dominik gave up no runs on two hits, while striking out nine, walking two and hitting one batter.
“I thought Kelsey pitched good,” DiPietro said. “She was in control the whole game. She only gave up two hits. One was a base hit, the other one was a bunt, which I thought should have been an error. But they gave her a hit.”
The win was the Owls’ first victory since they defeated Saint Peter’s on March 8. And despite the slow start, DiPietro was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We did what we had to do,” DiPietro said. “We scored some runs, and we made some plays when we had to.”
In the second game, the offense again started out slowly.
“The [Lafayette] pitcher that threw in the second game threw a little bit faster,” DiPietro said. “Not much, but a little bit faster. So it took us a little longer to get adjusted to her.”
But after being kept off the board in the first two innings, Temple jumped ahead in the third on sophomore second baseman Leah Lucas’ RBI double. Then in the fourth, the bats came alive.
After Zierke singled and senior third baseman Devynne Nelons walked, Kastner doubled to send Zierke home. The next batter walked to load the bases, and one batter later, Prezioso drove in two runs with a single, to put the Owls up 4-0.
Then sophomore center fielder Annie Marcopolus came up to bat, and knocked a three-run homer over the right field wall to give Temple a seven-run lead.
“We zeroed in on [Lafayette’s pitcher], and we just literally teed off,” DiPietro said. “Everybody contributed. We had a chance to bat everyone.”
In the seventh inning, freshman Erin Drennan hit a pinch-hit two-run home run for her first collegiate hit.
“That’s a memory she’s going to have for the rest of her life, so I thought that was pretty awesome,” DiPietro said.
Prezioso was the next to bat, and she finished off her incredible day at the plate with a solo home run, making the score 10-0. The Leopards scored once in the bottom of the seventh, and the Owls won, 10-1.
Prezioso went 6-9 on the day, with three RBIs and four runs scored. Prezioso needs to score three more runs to take over the career record for runs scored.
Freshman righty Amanda Gatt pitched the second game for Temple and also delivered a solid performance. Gatt carried a no-hitter through 4.2 innings. Her final line was one run, two hits, two walks, four strikeouts and two wild pitches.
“She pitched a good game, too,” DiPietro said. “We had really good pitching today from both pitchers.”
DiPietro said that the wins were important for getting the Owls (9-14, 0-3 American) back into regular form, especially because the team has played so few games.
“It’s huge, because we haven’t played much,” DiPietro said. “Only having five games in the last month, your timing’s all messed up. Even though we hit every day, we’re hitting live against our pitchers all the time. And our guys know our pitchers. So it’s really good.
“It was a nice day,” DiPietro added. “It wasn’t raining. So it was a chance for us to get out again. The girls were in good spirits. They loved being out playing the game. And hopefully now we can play tomorrow, and this weekend we’ll get a little momentum going, and we’ll start playing the way we’re capable of. With everything that’s been going on – the weather, the injuries – it’s good to see them enjoy themselves and have smiles on their faces.”
DiPietro had an update on the three injured players – senior catcher/first baseman Stephanie Pasquale (broken finger), junior outfielder Lacey McKeon (concussion) and freshman infielder Jessica Haug (concussion). DiPietro said all three are expected to be back on Saturday, but he will not be able to confirm their return until Friday.
The Owls’ next game will be on Wednesday at Penn, with the first pitch at 4 p.m.
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.