The softball team got what it needed from Atlantic Ten Conference rival Saint Louis.
The Owls split their home-opening doubleheader with the Billikens last Friday, giving Temple its first home victory of the season.
Assistant coach Nina Lindenberg said the win was key in getting the Owls’ season restarted.
“Once you have that first win under your belt at home, it kind of smoothes things out,” Lindenberg said. “Even with the loss in the second game, they still came out with that fight which is something that we desperately needed from our players.”
The Owls (5-14, 1-1 A-10) shut out the Billikens, 3-0, in the first game of the doubleheader, which was played at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Junior outfielder Jessica Rohn got the game started with a single in the first inning. Sophomore outfielder Brittany Burks and freshman pitcher Katie Burdeaux each made plays in the batter’s box that helped manufacture the first run of the game.
Senior infielder Lauren Evans hit a home run to centerfield in the second inning to put the Owls up by two.
Though they scored two runs in the first two innings, it wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Owls were able to add their final run of the game. Freshman utility player Nicole Lee tripled to bring home junior catcher Makeala Compton.
The Owls held a 6-2 advantage in the hit department, and committed no errors while St. Louis had one. But that didn’t help the Owls in their second game against the Billikens (8-13,1-1 A-10), as Temple dropped the contest, 5-4.
Burdeaux knocked in her second run of the day, bringing Burks in for the first run of the second game.
St. Louis outfielder Cara Sell hit a solo home run in the third inning to tie the score at one. In the Billikens’ half of the fourth inning, Sell connected for her second home run of the game, this time with two players on base, to put them up, 4-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Owls were able to bring in two runs to cut the deficit to one run. Junior utility player Brandie Mora and Evans each scored in the fourth frame to make the score 4-3.
In the top of the seventh inning, though, the Billikens added one final run off an error by Mora. The Owls tacked on one more run late in the seventh, but it was not enough to beat the Billikens.
The Owls again led the Billikens in hitting in Game 2 of the doubleheader, smacking nine hits compared to St. Louis’ five. But the Owls had three errors, which proved to be the game’s difference maker.
Lindenberg said she was happy with how the Owls played despite their loss in the second game.
“I think this was the best our team has played [all season]. I think the team we’ve been looking for came to play,” Lindenberg said. “The morale from the first game, that first win really came together for them. To have that comeback that they [had], even with that loss in the second game,” really helped.
The Owls will face Saint Francis (N.Y.) in a doubleheader tomorrow at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Lindenberg said the team is not planning on preparing any different for the Terriers (1-19) than the way they had planned for the Billikens prior to last week’s doubleheader.
The first-year assistant coach said she feels confident that the Owls will do well against St. Francis, while employing the same strategies.
“We’re going to do exactly what we did [Friday]. That is what has motivated them most and they’ve stepped it up,” Lindenberg said. “So I think we’re going to stick with what we did [against St. Louis] with a lot of hitting and a lot of defense.
“[We’re] really mixing it up and bringing it all together.”
Lindenberg was named last week as one of 35 finalists vying for a spot on the 25th Anniversary NCAA Women’s Softball Championship team.
Lindenberg was selected by a panel who decided on the near-three dozen finalists by looking at Division I softball student-athletes who had played well on the NCAA Championship level in the past 25 years.
Lindenberg received many accolades as a college athlete at Fresno State. She hit a game-winning home run in 1998 that allowed the Bulldogs to beat Arizona for the National Championship. In 1996 and 1998, she was voted as the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.