On Sunday, the Owls played their final regular season games in program history. An emotional Temple squad lost twice to South Florida, 12-0 and 7-1, at Temple Softball Stadium in Ambler, Pa.
The program was cut by the Temple administration on Dec. 6, effective after this season.
After the game, Temple coach Joe DiPietro said his team struggled to put aside their emotions while facing off with the Bulls.
“I expected what we got,” DiPietro said. “These kids are emotionally spent. I had no expectations. I knew we weren’t going to win. I don’t really have any thoughts on the games themselves.
“It was a tough day all the way around,” DiPietro added. “It was just a tough, emotional day that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
In the first game, the Owls faced Sara Nevins for the third time in the series and once again struggled against her. Temple managed one hit against Nevins, who struck out 10 Owls over six innings.
Right-handed senior Jessica Mahoney started the game for the Owls and was effective through the first four innings. She gave up one run in each inning, except the second, in which she sent the Bulls down in order.
But in the fifth, Stephanie Medina hit a three-run shot to give the Bulls a six-run lead and put the game out of reach.
South Florida would add on more runs in the top of the seventh. After Lee Ann Spivey hit a three-run home run, senior right-hander Kylie Kristovich came in to replace Mahoney; but the Bulls scored three additional runs of off her.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Owls put runners on second and third with no outs against reliever Sam Greiner; but after two batters flew out in foul territory, sophomore designated player Jess Mower struck out swinging to end the game.
The Owls held a ceremony to honor the 2004 softball team that won the A-10 Tournament, and then played a second game against the Bulls, which had been added to the schedule late in the season to make up for games lost due to rainouts. The game did not count as a conference game, however.
For the first time in the four-game series, the Owls started the scoring. Freshman designated player Erin Drennan hit a solo blast in the second inning, which was the second hit—and second home run—of her collegiate career.
The Bulls evened the score in the third inning with an RBI single off of freshman righty Amanda Gatt.
Then in the fourth, South Florida sent nine batters to the plate. The Bulls started the inning with four consecutive singles, and finished off their seven-run explosion with a grand slam from Ashli Goff.
Neither team scored after that inning, making the final score 7-1 in the Bulls’ favor.
Erica Nunn picked up the win for South Florida. She struck out 18 Temple hitters, while allowing one hit, the home run by Drennan.
The Owls finished the regular season with a record of 15-29 overall, and 5-13 in the American Athletic Conference.
Up next, Temple will travel to Houston on May 8 for the conference tournament. The Owls will play No. 3 seed Louisville at 11 a.m.
“It feels good knowing that we still have games to play together,” senior third baseman Devynne Nelons said. “And hopefully we’ll do really good in the conference tournament, and we’ll have a couple more games together as a team.
“But [the last regular season game] was bittersweet,” Nelons added. “We all love each other, so we’ll stick together.”
Don McDermott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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