Traveling to Alliance, Ohio for the first of a four-game road stretch, the Blue Streaks were set to take on the host Mount Union Purple Raiders on Thursday, April 12. In what would be another day of doubleheader action, JCU couldn’t quite find its groove as the team lost consecutive contests to the Purple Raiders by scores of 1-0 and 10-6, respectively.
After splitting the doubleheader on the road last season in Alliance, the Blue Streaks once again would travel to the University of Mount Union with the hopes of being able to sweep the Purple Raiders on the road. Unfortunately, a lack of timely hitting and consistent pitching eventually doomed the Blue Streaks on Thursday.
In game one, sophomore Jimmy Spagna took the mound for the Blue Streaks. Spagna’s pitching performance was nearly picture perfect, as the only run he allowed on the day came early in the game in the bottom of the second inning. Other than the lone run allowed, Spagna was firing on all cylinders as he scattered six hits and one earned run through six innings of work, but was unable to come away with the win. While Spagna allowed only six hits on the day, the Blue Streaks’ offense only provided four hits of their own, eventually leading to a narrow and hard fought 1-0 loss in game one of the doubleheader against Mount Union. In the second game, the Blue Streaks provided six runs on the offensive side of action, but Mount Union once again outdid JCU by scoring 10 runs. With the Purple Raiders scoring at least one run in five different innings, including six in the first two combined, the Blue Streaks were unable to come away with a win in game two, losing 10-6.
Three days later on Sunday, April 15, the Blue Streaks took to the road once again as they made the lengthy road trip to Westerville, Ohio to take on the host Otterbein University Cardinals. With a bitter taste in their mouths following the consecutive losses to Mount Union, the Blue Streaks knew they would need to dig deep for a pair of road wins against another Ohio Athletic Conference opponent. Luckily, JCU responded to the challenge and took home a pair of wins against the Cardinals, winning by scores of 4-1 and 5-4, respectively.
Sophomore Anthony Libertini took the mound for the Blue Streaks in game one of the doubleheader and put together a spectacular pitching performance of his own. Libertini turned in 5.2 innings of work while only surrendering one run and six hits while striking out four, putting a cap on the Cardinals’ offense. The Blue Streaks scored two runs in the top of the third before scoring again in the fourth and sixth innings, and freshman Tyler Ferretti recorded the save in 1.1 innings of work to secure the 4-1 victory for JCU in game one.
In game two, the Blue Streaks found themselves trailing early by a score of 3-0 after five innings of play. However, JCU would respond with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth inning and one more run in the top of the seventh. With the game tied at three heading into the eighth inning, the Blue Streaks were in need of some late game heroics. Fortunately, sophomore Mitch Herringshaw proved to have the clutch gene once again as he launched a two-run home run to left field, scoring both sophomore Dan Potter and himself to give JCU the 5-3 lead in the eighth inning. The Cardinals responded with one run in the bottom of the eighth, but couldn’t score again in the ninth as JCU took home the 5-4 win in game two.
“Getting both of those wins today was very important,” said Herringshaw of the Blue Streaks’ back-to-back wins over Otterbein on Sunday. “We knew we had to go in there and take two today, and get back on track in conference play.”
With the game-winning home run in the eighth inning of game two, Herringshaw picked up his second home run of the season, both of which have been game-winners. Herringshaw also currently leads the Blue Streaks in an astonishing 10 different offensive categories this season, including batting average (.396), on-base percentage (.455) and RBIs (19).
“I’ve just been trying to not do too much at the plate,” said Herringshaw of his impressive season thus far. “I just try to take what is given to me at the plate and put the best swing on it.”
With the wins over Otterbein, the Blue Streaks completed a 2-2 split on the weekend and now have an overall record of 12-13 on the season, including a 5-5 mark against OAC opponents. The Blue Streaks will next play on Saturday, April 21 on the road against the Marietta College Pioneers.