The John Carroll University softball team is coming off of a busy week in which they played three different doubleheaders, winning four of the six games they played.
The week began on Tuesday, March 29 as the Blue Streaks traveled to Granville, Ohio to take on the Denison University Big Red. The Blue Streaks opened the doubleheader with a narrow 3-2 loss to the Big Red, but finally found their offensive rhythm in the second game as they scored an impressive 11 runs in the second game and went on to win by a score of 11-3.
Freshman second baseman Samantha Becker hit her first career grand slam in the third inning of the second game to put the Blue Streaks up by a score of 8-1. From there, the Blue Streaks never looked back as freshman pitcher Trisha Pike was awarded the win after allowing only three runs in her four innings of work on the mound.
With the split in the doubleheader, the Blue Streaks improved their overall record to 10-4 while Denison University fell to 10-2.
JCU’s next doubleheader came on Saturday, April 2 as the Blue Streaks faced off against their first conference opponent of the season in Otterbein University. This doubleheader was also the first time all season that the Blue Streaks had played at home on Bracken Field.
With the games against Otterbein University being their first two home games of the season, the Blue Streaks made sure they started things off the right way, as the Blue Streaks swept the visiting Cardinals by scores of 9-1 in the first game and 7-5 in the second game.
Junior third baseman Erin Riccardi helped the Blue Streaks offensively by driving in three runs in each of the Blue Streaks’ two wins over the Otterbein University Cardinals.
Following the sweep over Otterbein University, the Blue Streaks then split a doubleheader with the visiting Ohio Northern University Polar Bears the following day at Bracken Field on Sunday, April 3.
The Blue Streaks began the doubleheader with a come-from-behind win over ONU. John Carroll trailed by a score of 4-2 after the top of the fourth inning, but the bat of freshman Samantha Becker helped them once again. Becker hit a two-out, two-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning to give JCU the narrow 5-4 lead going into the final inning. In the top of the seventh inning, junior pitcher Brittany Danilov shut down the ONU offense and didn’t allow a run, securing the win in the process.
The second game didn’t go as smoothly for the Blue Streaks though. JCU held a 2-1 lead after four innings of play, but then the visiting Polar Bears opened the flood gates as they scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning and six runs in the top of the sixth inning and eventually won the game by a final score of 8-2.
Following the doubleheader with ONU, the Blue Streaks record dropped to 13-5 overall, including having a 3-1 record in conference play.
Despite the loss to ONU in the second game of their doubleheader, the Blue Streaks are currently in first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference standings.
“The secret to our success is our dedication and work ethic,” said Riccardi. “Our coach runs our practices and workouts as if we are a Division I program. There aren’t many other teams out there in the OAC that have the intense practices and in-season workouts and lifts that we do.”
Riccardi said that the team has been working hard since day one. “I think we are doing exactly that, and so far it has really paid off” she said.
When asked what the team would need to do to continue their success, Riccardi’s answer was simple.
“We need to make sure we play every game as if it were our last. We have to have intensity coming into every game, no matter who we are playing. I think if we have this mentality going into each game, we will have a very successful season.”
The Blue Streaks next set of games are today at Bracken Field, as Case Western Resrve University visits for a doubleheader.
The first game is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. and the second game of the double-header will follow the first game.