Temple started well on the second day of the Rebel Spring Games, shutting out Sacred Heart, 4-0, to extend its winning streak to three games. But against Niagara, the Owls were plagued with the same problems that troubled them early on in the season, and fell, 4-0.
Against Sacred Heart, the Owls quickly established their lead. Senior shortstop Sarah Prezioso led off the bottom of the first with a triple and the next batter, freshman left fielder Toni Santos, brought Prezioso home with an infield single to shortstop. In the second inning, sophomore center fielder Annie Marcopolus tripled, driving in senior designated hitter Brooklin White. Prezioso was the next to bat and hit a two-run home run to put Temple up 4-0.
The Pioneers then pulled their starting pitcher, Adrianna Mallory, and the reliever kept the Owls off the board for the rest of the game. But a four-run lead was enough, as Temple’s right-handed sophomore Kelsey Dominik dominated Sacred Heart for seven innings, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out four. Dominik did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and never let the Pioneers get a runner in scoring position.
“We played well,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “We took the lead right away. [Dominik] pitched a two-hitter, and they didn’t get one hard-hit ball for the whole game. We did everything right. That was a good win.”
DiPietro also spoke well of Prezioso, although he had some warning words for the rest of the team.
“[Prezioso is] really playing well,” DiPietro said. “She’s been without question our most consistent player. Unfortunately, the girls on our team look to Sarah to lead the way, instead of some of them doing it themselves. And it gets us in a little bit of trouble from time to time.”
The trouble DiPietro was referring to was Temple’s offensive struggles in its game against Niagara. The Owls had four hits and Niagara jumped out to an early two-run lead in the first and never looked back, adding two more runs for insurance in the sixth.
“We didn’t come ready to play in the second game, for whatever reason,” DiPietro said. “I don’t have an answer for it, but I wasn’t really happy with it, that’s for sure.”
Although the team made only one error, DiPietro said the defense could have played better to help out junior right-hander Jessica Mahoney.
“I thought [Mahoney] pitched good,” DiPietro said. “She pitched a lot better than the final result looks like. She kept us in the game. We just didn’t hit.”
Mahoney gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out two and walking two. But Temple’s offense was non-existent, making bad swings and looking like “they didn’t have any fight in them,” DiPietro said. The Owls struck out eight times and stranded seven base runners.
“[It] just looked like they didn’t want to play,” DiPietro said. “Only had [four] hits against a team we already beat [on Tuesday]. One of the most disappointing losses of the season for me.”
The Owls have tomorrow off, but the team will be back on the diamond on Friday. Temple will face Sacred Heart again at noon, and then square off against Manhattan at 2 p.m.
Don McDermott can be reached at email@example.com.