It always helps to have good pitching. The John Carroll University softball team learned that this week, as the team was the beneficiary of solid performances from sophomore Brittany Danilov and senior Sam Thompson.
JCU’s formidable one-two punch combined to shutout opponents in three consecutive games before slipping up in the second game of a doubleheader against Marietta College.
Still, the team managed to go 3-1 over its past four games and, at time of print, the Blue Streaks were sitting in third place in the conference standings with the top four teams qualifying for the Ohio Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
It should come as no surprise that Danilov and Thompson were good this past week, as they have been terrific all season.
Danilov boasts a 12-9 record, and has recorded 107 strikeouts in 128 innings.
Her 12 wins tie her for fifth-most in the conference, and the 107 strikeouts to her name are second-most in the OAC.
Thompson has been nearly as solid, starting 18 games and going the distance in eight of those ballgames, recording two shutouts. The senior hurler is 9-6 so far this season, with an ERA of 3.89.
In last week’s doubleheader against The College of Wooster, the Blue Streaks standout pitching duo had the opposition guessing all day.
Just eight runners managed to get on base in both games combined. In the second game, Thompson allowed just one hit and one walk in going the full seven innings.
When the bats are alive, as they were against The College of Wooster, the team is destined for success.
The Blue Streaks pounded out 15 hits in the doubleheader, which helped lead to the 15 runs they scored.
It’s always nice, however, to have great pitching to bail you out when things aren’t going too well offensively, as was the case later in the week against Marietta College.
The Blue Streaks were only able to muster three runs in the two games, but an outstanding effort from Danilov in game one allowed them to get out of southeastern Ohio with a split against the Pioneers, winning game one 2-0 behind the right arm of Danilov.
In game two, JCU found itself down 3-1 after the first inning and couldn’t put together enough offense to climb out of that hole.
Marietta added three more runs in the fifth inning to propel them to the victory.
Still, with four games left on the schedule JCU finds itself in the thick of it contending for a postseason spot.
Because of the weather in Ohio, JCU is one of a handful of teams in the conference to play 14 games, while others have only been able to squeeze in 12 games.
However, the Blue Streaks have only dropped six games so far in conference play and are tied for fourth fewest in the OAC, meaning that they control their own destiny.
If they win out, they will qualify for the postseason tournament.
Standing in their way are Heidelberg University, the other team that also has six conference losses, and Wilmington College, who at 3-9 in the conference is a longshot to qualify for the postseason.