Two days after spending some time in the Midwest the Owls returned to Philadelphia for some Big Five action.
The Owls (22-21, 9-5 Atlantic 10 Conference) took a short trip to face Villanova (16-26, 2-15 Big East Conference), getting a reprieve from A-10 action.
It was probably for the best, as the Owls split the double-header with the Wildcats, but that didn’t do anything to affect their conference standings.
Coach Joe DiPietro said that the team had Monday off to rest after a four-game weekend and didn’t expect the same fire to be there for a non-conference battle. He turned out to be right.
Offense and pitching flipped roles on the day. Almost uncharacteristically, Temple got complete games from both starting pitchers, sophomore Jessica Mahoney in the first game and freshman Kelsey Dominik in the second game.
DiPietro said he wasn’t too worried about the team’s lack of hitting and that he expected the offense to be “fine” long term. He cited “inconsistency” as the culprit against Villanova.
Mahoney continued her recent hot streak in the first game, giving up one hit which came in the third inning. The Wildcats capitalized, scoring two runs on a throwing error by Dominik, who was playing first base in the first game, and a passed ball. Both runs weren’t charged to Mahoney, who went on to strike out two and walk three.
For a time it looked like the offense wouldn’t give Mahoney the help she needed but a double by freshman second baseman Leah Lucas scored junior shortstop Sarah Prezioso in the fourth. Two innings later the Owls tied the game on an error before Dominik hit a two-run homerun to put them up 4-2.
It was all the team needed. After Villanova took the 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third Mahoney settled down. She would retire the final 13 batters she faced.
No Owl recorded more than one hit in the first hit. In fact, they spread out just four hits, but it proved enough to get the win.
In the second game the offense gave little help once again for their starter, this time Dominik.
Dominik was clean for most of the game, going all six innings. She walked two and struck out one while allowing two earned on five hits. The Wildcats got another unearned run. All three runs were scored in the bottom of the fifth.
What started out as two quick outs became a rally for Villanova. Back-to-back doubles scored a run each for the home team and a throwing error by junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale allowed the third run to score.
But the Owls’ offense could do nothing to help out Dominik. Despite collecting seven hits not one went for extra bases. Only two baserunners advanced to third base in the game and the Owls fell 3-0.
“[Dominik] pitched well enough to win the game,” DiPietro said.
Pasquale, who went 0-for-4 in the first game, was the only player to get more than two hits in the second game, going 2-for-3 at the dish.
“It was just one of those games,” DiPietro said. “I think they’re looking forward to some warmer weather.”
The Owls caught a break, however, as the series split doesn’t hurt their standing in the A-10. Temple currently sits in fifth. But that didn’t change the fact that the Owls are now 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Temple has one more non-conference game Wednesday, against Penn (24-16, 13-3 Ivy League), before they play four straight in the A-10.