Murray, Killough thrive, 49ers eliminate Temple from A-10s

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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This time around for Temple, there were no heroics off the bat of Shannon James and no complete game shutout against Charlotte in the right arm of Brianna Dairy. This time around, it was the Kristi and Christy show for the 49ers in their 8-2 win over the Owls yesterday at the UMass Softball Complex.

Charlotte’s (34-22) victory avenged Wednesday’s 8-0 opening-round loss to Temple (18-21) and propelled the 49ers into the semifinals in the loser’s bracket of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They face Saint Louis today at noon.

“It’s awesome that we’re still here and going to play on Friday,” Charlotte coach Aimee DeVos said. “We lost our first game but the inside joke on our team is that we’re sending everybody home. We’re in the loser’s bracket, so it’s going to be our job to take everybody back home.”

Christy Murray lasted all seven innings on the mound for the 49ers, allowing two runs (one earned) for her 18th win and 15th complete game of the season. Kristi Killough also enjoyed a big afternoon, pacing the 49ers at the plate (3-for-4, three RBIs) and in the field with a pair of spectacular catches in right field.

“We were looking for a little payback, so it was pretty sweet,” Murray said after the game. “It made it so much sweeter [to beat Temple]. We didn’t play all that well [on Wednesday], so we wanted to come out and show them who Charlotte is. What they saw the other day was not us.”

After tossing a shutout on Wednesday against the 49ers, Temple’s Brianna Dairy lasted 1/3 of an inning in yesterday’s contest. Owls coach Casey Dickson pulled Dairy after she allowed two of the first three batters to reach, replacing her with Ashley Smuda. Temple escaped the top of the first down 1-0 (RBI single by Killough) courtesy of an inning-ending double play.

The Owls answered in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own but failed to further capitalize on three Charlotte errors in the frame.

“That was huge, because we were able to shut that down,” DeVos said. “We put three errors up in the inning and it was looking like we were going into the same direction we did [Wednesday] against them. It just shows we got a lot of composure.”

“That was pretty crucial,” Murray said, echoing her coach. “I think that kind of set the momentum for the rest of the game.”

The 49ers escaped another jam the very next inning, as the Owls stranded the bases loaded with one out. Murray ended the threat herself, striking out A-10 Player of the Year Adrienne Repsher to end the second.

Charlotte continued its momentum to begin the third, exploding for five runs off Smuda. The inning started quickly as the last two batters in the order – Emily Forbes and Jenny Rumbles – each singled. The 49ers loaded the bases after the Owls were unable to make a play on Sarah Malene’s grounder to second.

Three of the next four hitters delivered for Charlotte – most notably Killough’s two-run single and Sierra Brooks’ two-run double – to capture the lead for the 49ers, 6-1. The five-run deficit was the closest Temple would get for the remainder of the contest.

The effort of the 49ers please DeVos, especially that of Murray and Killough..

“We showed up today ready to play and hit,” she said. “[On Wednesday] we got hits, but they just weren’t timely. But today we were ready to go and we drove in the runs when we were in scoring positon.

We also got tremendous pitching and our outfield probably had one of the best days they’ve had all year.

“Murray has been outstanding this year and she’s on fire right now,” she added. She has a lot of heart and a lot of desire out there. Killough stepped up almost every single time at the plate. She made some great plays in the outfield, too. She’s the hardest working hitter on the team, and it showed today.”

Eli Rosenswaike can be reached at [email protected]