It was a tale of two games for the softball team Saturday as the Owls faced La Salle in their first Atlantic 10 Conference matchups of the season.
Temple (7-14, 1-1 in the A-10) had a double-header against their crosstown rival, looking completely different from one game to the next. The Owls lost the first game 5-0, and 10-run ruled La Salle in a win in the second game.
The Owls sent sophomore Jessica Mahoney to the mound to start the first game, hoping to find some stability in their rotation.
For three innings coach Joe DiPietro got what he was hoping for from his starter, but then the wheels fell off. After a throw to second caught the leadoff runner stealing Mahoney surrendered a double, single and single to load the bases. Another single broke a 0-0 lock.
And with the bases still juiced Mahoney coughed up a grand slam, put the game seemingly out of reach.
“The grand slam, she threw it right down the middle and the kid didn’t miss it,” DiPietro said. “You can’t make those kind of mistakes and that was their four hitter.”
Out came Mahoney and in came freshman Jessica Tolmie but the damage was done. Tolmie allowed just two hits and no runs the rest of the game and at one point struck out five consecutive batters but the offense couldn’t buy a run the rest of the game.
Temple got just five hits from five different players but none could cross home plate in the 5-0 loss.
“The first game we didn’t score but we had chances,” DiPietro said. “We had plenty of chances, we just couldn’t get a hit when we needed it.”
The second game proved to be a completely different story.
Senior outfielder Ali Robinson got things started with a one-out single to right in the first and promptly stole second and third. And with two outs junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale knocked Robinson in with a double down the line to start what turned out to be a blowout win for the Owls, 11-1.
The game ended after five innings with Temple 10-run ruling the Explorers (10-7, 1-1 in the A-10).
Robinson wasn’t done after the first as she went on to drive in a two-run homer in the fourth and the eventual game ending three-run blast in the fifth. She finished 3-for-4 with three runs, five RBIs and a strikeout.
“Ali Robinson kind of set the tone in the first inning,” DiPietro said. “She hit a single, stole second, stole third. We scored a run right off the bat in the first inning, which is what we needed, we needed to just break the ice.”
Leadoff hitter and freshman outfield Annie Marcopolus had a big game as well, going 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs of her own.
“We have one of the best offenses in the league, but we need to come out every day and put it out there like we’re the best offense in the league,” DiPietro said.
Freshman Kelsey Dominik was able to get her team-leading fourth win of the season with a one-run effort. Her lone hiccup came on a fourth inning solo shot by sophomore designated hitter Alicia Aughton.
“[Aughton] hit a good pitch actually, so I don’t fault Kelsey too much,” DiPietro said. “She pitched a good game.”
Dominik finished with two strikeouts, 10 forced groundouts, a walk and two hitters surrendered. Her ERA now stands at 2.65, three runs better than any other Owl.
The win snapped a five-game skid for the Owls.
The Owls have another double-header today against St. Francis (PA) at Ambler and DiPietro expects to start junior Brooklin White on the mound in the opener of the twin bill and possibly Tolmie in the second.
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jakeadams520.