Big Innings Lift Temple Past Butler

Audrey East

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Visiting Temple took advantage of big scoring innings in both games to hand Butler a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference setbacks at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday (April 21).  The Owls captured the first game, 7-3, and then pulled out a come-from-behind, 5-2 decision in the second contest.

Temple (21-20, 9-5 A-10) used a four-run third inning to take control of the opener and then completed the sweep on the strength of a four-run seventh inning in the nightcap.  The two losses dropped Butler to 18-22 on the season and 7-7 in the A-10.

The day wasn't entirely about softball.  The twinbill was tabbed "Van the Man" Day by the Butler Softball Team in honor of four-year-old Van Green.  Van was diagnosed with brain cancer in October of 2012, and following his diagnosis, he underwent 13-and-a-half hours of brain surgery.  The surgeons were able to fully remove the tumor.

After recovering from the surgery, Van completed six weeks of Proton Radiation Therapy, and he's currently receiving chemotherapy, which will last eight more months.  Through it all, he has inspired many with his smile and his great attitude, including the Bulldogs.  The young boy and his family were on hand to throw out the first pitch on a day that belonged to him.  He later was joined by both teams for photos and well-wishes.

Butler will continue its current homestand with a conference doubleheader against Saint Louis on Tuesday, April 23.  The twinbill, which was rescheduled from last week, will start at 2 p.m., at the Butler Softball Field.

GAME 1 - Temple 7, Butler 3

Temple broke a scoreless deadlock and took control of the game with a four-run rally in the third inning.  The Owls, who only had one ball leave the infield in the inning, took advantage of three walks, a hit batter and one Butler error to compile the decisive rally.

Devynne Nelons led off the third inning with her eighth home run of the season.  The Owls also had two infield singles in the frame, which ended with bases loaded.  Temple added a pair of runs in the fourth inning and one more on a solo home run by Stephanie Pasquale in the sixth.

Butler broke through against Temple starter Kelsey Dominik (10-3) with a pair of runs in the fourth inning.  Audrey East started the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a double off the centerfield wall by Devin DearingMaria Leichty brought in the first run with a single up the middle, and Krista Hakola followed with another single to center field to plate the second.

The Bulldogs scored their final run in the fifth frame on consecutive singles by Cassie Rupel, Kristen Boros, East and Dearing.

Butler had 12 hits in the game and left 11 runners on base.   The Bulldogs had at least two runners on base in four of the seven innings.  Boros, East, Dearing and Hakola each had a pair of hits, and eight total Bulldogs hit safely in the contest.   

GAME 2 - Temple 5, Butler 2

Butler, behind the strong pitching performance of senior Jenny Esparza, led 1-0 through five innings and appeared headed for a split of the twinbill with Temple.  But the Owls tied the game with a single run in the sixth and then put things away with four runs in the seventh.

The decisive rally started with a one-out infield single by Leah Lucas.  Nelons followed with a double to left field, and Julia Kastner lifted a short line drive to left field to score the first run.  With two outs, Esparza walked back-to-back hitters to plate a second run and Pasquale followed with a two-run single.
Butler countered with a single run in the bottom of the seventh on a double by Hakola, a single by pinch-hitter Meaghan Sullivan and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Megan Gray.  But Temple starter Jessica Mahoney (4-10) worked out of the jam by getting Krosley Ogden to pop up for the final out.

The Bulldogs jumped in front in the fourth inning on a leadoff double by East and a run-scoring single by Leichty.  That lead stood until Temple broke through in the sixth frame.

Ogden led Butler's six-hit attack with a pair of singles.  Esparza (4-5) finished with 11 strikeouts and four walks, while posting her fifth complete game of the season.  She allowed only two hits through the first five innings and seven hit for the game.