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JCU Baseball team readying for conference play

March 25th, 2010

With three more games in the books this week, the John Carroll University baseball team sits at 6-5 after winning just one of their last three contests.

On March 16 in Washington, Penn., the Blue Streaks couldn’t hang onto a four run lead in the late innings to lose by a final score of 9-8 to Washington and Jefferson College.

Although this was not a loss in conference play, every game is still crucial for the men on the diamond.

Going into the top of the sixth inning JCU was behind by a score of 4-3 and responded with five runs to take the lead by a score of 8-4 headed into the bottom half. Washington and Jefferson responded with a four-run inning themselves, tying the score at eight, headed into the seventh inning.

The Blue Streaks had runners on base, but just could not bring any of them across home plate.

The game then abruptly ended when Washington and Jefferson’s Neil Pascarella hit a walk-off homer and gave the Presidents the final run and win by a score of 9-8.

Last Saturday, JCU traveled to Kent, Ohio, to take on the Mavericks of Medaille College in a doubleheader. The series was split by the teams, giving each a win and a loss this past weekend.

Game one was looking grim as the Blue Streaks trailed by a score of 14-3 heading into the sixth inning.

Sophomore Dominic Varacallo hit a pinch hit three-run home run to bring the score to 14-6.

“Incredible,” was how Varacallo described his first career homer. “It was like two years of hard work and trying to do things the right way all coming together on one swing of the bat,” he said.

The homer wasn’t enough to make much of a difference, other than the final margin in game one, but the momentum carried over into game two.

The Blue Streaks were up 3-1 early thanks to a two-run triple from sophomore first baseman Tom Hickey. He finished with three RBIs as he went two of four on the day at the plate.

In the third inning, JCU was up 4-3 and continued to bring runs home.

Ryan Pacyga and Joe Velrti both had RBI singles to take the score to 6-3. Veltri ended the game three for four with two RBI.

The Mavericks of Medaille did not quit.

JCU led 6-4 going into the final innings of the game and finally was able to put the Mavericks away for good, scoring five runs in the seventh.

The man on the mound for the Blue Streaks in the winning effort, and earning his first win of the 2010 season, was sophomore Chris Eggleton.

Eggleton, a preseason player to  watch according to Buckeye State Baseball, did allow four runs but managed to strikeout four Mavericks.

“Getting my first win under my belt was huge. I didn’t throw as well as I would have liked to in Florida, but this outing was something positive to build off of heading into conference play,” said Eggleton.

With the loss to Washington and Jefferson and the split with Medaille the Blue Streaks now sit at 6-5 on the year.

With OAC play set to open soon, junior shortstop Johnny Hastings said, [the team mindset] is “to start strong and finish strong, to go on and win the conference.”

Next up for the men a split doubleheader with Montclair State University and Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, on Saturday afternoon.  The game with Muskingum will be the first of the OAC season.