After having their doubleheader with the Marietta Pioneers originally postponed, the John Carroll University baseball team made sure to take advantage of the opportunity before them as the Blue Streaks split a pair of games with the Pioneers on Sunday, April 22.
Traveling to Marietta, Ohio to take on the No. 1 ranked team in all of DIII baseball, the Blue Streaks knew that the Pioneers would be no easy opponent. After being outscored 26-2 in three losses to the Pioneers’ last season, the Blue and Gold had revenge on their mind while also aiming to stay on their current hot streak, having won five consecutive games before taking on Marietta.
In game one of the doubleheader, sophomore ace Jimmy Spagna took the mound for JCU. Spagna tossed 5.1 innings of spectacular pitching, keeping the Pioneers offense at bay by allowing only two earned runs and two hits. Freshman Tyler Ferretti then came in to relieve Spagna on the mound, and he picked up right where Spagna left off. Ferretti allowed only one hit in 4.1 innings of work, but was also responsible for the game-winning run scored by Marietta. With the score tied at two in the bottom of the 10th inning, Ferretti began the inning by forcing a fly-out. Ferretti then walked the next batter and allowed that same runner to advance to second base on a wild pitch, putting himself in a bit of a jam. With a runner on second and one out, Ferretti then forced an easy groundout to record the second out of the inning while the runner on second advanced to third base. Sophomore Kevin Rosinski then came into the game looking to record the final out of the inning, but eventually ended up allowing the game-winning RBI single, giving Marietta the 3-2 win in extra innings of game one.
Game two would turn out to be quite a different story for both sides, however. The Blue Streaks’ bats came to life early, as JCU scored one run in the second inning before scoring two runs in both the third and fourth innings, giving themselves a 5-0 lead headed into the fifth inning. After tacking on three more runs in the top of the sixth inning, JCU found themselves leading the Pioneers by a score of 8-0. As the two teams were only playing seven innings in the second game of this doubleheader, Marietta could only plate two runs in the bottom of the seventh en route to a loss to the Blue Streaks by a score of 8-2.
“That win was very important to keep us in the running for the upcoming OAC Tournament,” said sophomore shortstop Mark Huddle. “Game one was a tough loss, but we weren’t going to get down on ourselves. We knew if we kept our heads in the game, we would have a shot at beating them in game two. We came out with another great pitching performance and the bats stayed hot.”
The Blue Streaks (16-14, 8-6) have now won six of their last seven games and seem to be peaking at the right time.
“Our team confidence is great,” said Huddle, who finished Sunday with two runs scored and an RBI as well. “Now we just have to come out one game at a time and play the same, if not harder, and try not to miss a beat. If we do that, we’ll be able to compete with any team in the OAC.”
With only limited games left in the regular season, the Blue Streaks will compete next on Saturday, April 28 when they travel to Tiffin, Ohio to take on the Heidelberg University Student Princes in another Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader.