AMBLER, Pa. - Having not played an Atlantic 10 contest since the first weekend of April, the Saint Joseph's softball team needed wins in its final four games to solidify a conference postseason berth and keep its chances alive for the A-10 regular-season crown. The Hawks answered the call Tuesday afternoon, earning a 5-4 extra-inning win at Temple, before blasting past the Owls, 12-4, in the nightcap to earn a berth in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Additionally, sophomore Dana Parks became the 28th Hawks in program history to reach 100 career hits.
The Hawks improved to 9-3 in the Atlantic 10 and earned the berth because the lowest winning percentage they could have would be .643, while seventh-place Saint Louis can only improve its winning percentage to .611.
In the opener, the city rivals needed extra frames to decide the game. After three scoreless extra innings, the Hawks broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the 11th. Sophomore Rochelle Christman led off with a double, and following a foul out, senior Dana Bieniek delivered the game's biggest hit with a double to center field, allowing Christman to score the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the inning, sophomore Taryn Ashway worked around a one-out single, ending the game with a strikeout of Kristen Marris to end the game and improve to 4-6 on the year.
Saint Joseph's (27-13) took control of the game early, taking a 4-0 edge. Junior Alaina Loguidice put the Hawks on the board in the top of the fourth, leading off with a solo homer to center field. Sophomore Deanna Stinner doubled home junior Monica Aguilar in the fourth to push SJU's lead to 2-0.
Bieniek drilled a lead-off homer to start the fifth, with sophomore Dana Parks scoring the fourth Hawk run on a RBI single by Aguilar.
The lead didn't last long though as Temple touched up SJU starter Erin Gallagher for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 4-4.
Gallagher would bounce back, pitching three more scoreless innings before giving way to Ashway, who closed the door.
In the nightcap, the Hawks found themselves down 1-0 early, but answered back with our runs in the top of the third to take control. Aguilar and Bieniek picked up a RBI each, while Stinner delivered a two-run double to put SJU up 4-1.
The Owls scored once in the bottom of the inning, but SJU bounced back with two runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth to take a commanding 11-2 advantage. Junior Bernadette Moran drove in both runs in the fourth with a two-RBI single.
Parks, who became the 28th Hawk to reach 100 hits with a two-out single in the fifth, was one of three to score on a double by Aguilar, while Bieniek followed with a two-run home run to up SJU's edge to nine.
Temple avoided the mercy rule with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the Owls would never threaten as Gallagher allowed just one hit over the final two innings, while Moran homered in the seventh for an insurance run.
Saint Joseph's caps its A-10 schedule Friday and Saturday at St. Bonaventure.