PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Charlotte softball team fell 9-7 to Temple in a grueling Atlantic 10 contest which featured seven home runs, Thursday afternoon at the Temple Softball Field.

Temple (10-14 overall, 2-1 A-10) handed Charlotte (14-11, 2-1) its first conference loss of the season.

Charlotte got off to a hot start against Temple and changed what looked like a 1-2-3 inning for the Owls when Briana Gwaltney stepped up to the plate. With two outs, Gwaltney ripped a standup double to centerfield hitting the top of the wall, just shy of a homer. But it was Chelsea Ingersoll who finished the job for Gwaltney and crushed a two-run homer over the left field fence to give Charlotte the 2-0 lead.

The Owls answered by putting together three hits and a pair of walks to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first.

In the third, the 49ers came up short after starting the inning with some momentum. Natalie Capone capitalized on a Temple error to start the inning while Alex Rogers and Gwaltney loaded the bases with a pair of singles. However the Owls turned a double play after Ingersoll lined out to the pitcher and threw Capone out to record the second out. Charlotte was unable to drive in any runs and left two runners on base.

After two quiet innings from both teams on the bases, Temple made some noise in the fifth inning with a pair of solo home runs from Sarah Prezioso and Stephanie Pasquale to take the 4-2 advantage. But it was Devynne Nelsons’ three-run homer that lifted Temple to a 7-2 lead.

Ingersoll put on an encore performance in the sixth inning and hit her seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot, to cut the Owls’ lead to 7-4.

The long ball competition rolled over into the bottom of the sixth when Prezioso hit her second homer of the game, pushing the score to 9-4.

Charlotte wasn’t done yet. In the seventh inning, Gwaltney finally got her hands on one and belted her fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot to slice Temple’s lead to 9-7. The Niners were unable to score any more runs despite a hitting performance which featured 11 hits, three coming in the seventh inning.

Gwaltney led the 49ers and was 3-for-3 with three runs and RBIs. Ingersoll went 2-for-4 with two runs and a team-high four RBIs. Rogers also finished with two hits and a run.

Katie Watkins (8-8) finished with a game-high six strikeouts in the loss. Chelsea Lisikatos relieved Watkins in the fifth and the duo allowed five hits each.

Charlotte will face Temple on Friday, March 29 for a single game beginning at 3 p.m. On Saturday, the 49ers will close out their Philadelphia tour with a conference doubleheader against St. Joseph’s starting at noon.