It took 11 games before the Blue Streaks hit their first home run of the season. Twenty-five games later, that total has risen to 20 due in part to a record-setting performance by the Blue Streaks in their 10-8 game one victory over the Marietta Pioneers Saturday afternoon at Bracken Field.
The Blue and Gold hit a team record five home runs in game one en route to their two run victory.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the first, Blue Streaks junior catcher Mackenzie Griffin hit a home run that scored shortstop Sam Becker, who led off the inning with a double. Four hitters later, following a Heather Hurley two-out walk, Ollie Mathews connected on her first home run of the season extending the Blue and Gold’s lead to 4-3 heading into the seventh.
Back came the Pioneers, however, as they took a 7-4 lead off four second inning hits, while the Blue Streaks were held silent in the second and third innings.
Then came the fourth inning.
Sophomore right fielder Colleen Brady led off the fourth frame with a solo home run which served as John Carroll’s third home run of the day. Then, five batters later with the bases loaded, senior third baseman Erin Riccardi connected on her first home run of the season, as her grand slam gave the Blue and Gold their first lead since the first inning, 9-7.
Nine runs is all the Blue Streaks would have needed to win the ballgame, as Marietta only managed to score one more time in the sixth. However, Griffin matched the Pioneers sixth inning run when she belted her second home run of the day, extending the John Carroll lead to 10-8.
Griffin’s home run was the fifth of the game for the Blue Streaks, an all-time team record, and also served as her fourth home run of the season. It was also her third home run in her last four games.
Senior Brittany Danilov threw her 15th complete game, improving to 15-4 on the season. Through seven innings she allowed six earned runs and struck out 11.
Marietta freshman Alexis O’Hair was credited with the loss as she fell to 11-6 on the year.
In game two, freshman Rachel Byrnes made her second career start at pitcher for the Blue and Gold pitching two innings and allowing three runs on five hits before Danilov was brought into relief in the third inning.
Following the Pioneers three-run third, which was climaxed by Michelle Sayre’s three-run home run, the Blue and Gold stormed right back by sending 12 batters to the plate the next inning. While doing so, JCU put up eight runs in the third inning off four hits. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Robinson had much to do with the eight-run rally as she connected on her second home run of the season, a three-run shot, which put the Blue Streaks up 8-3 heading into the fourth.
Marietta would respond in the fourth with three runs, narrowing John Carroll’s lead to two. Two innings later, the lead would be cut to only one, following Jessa Ott’s two out RBI single.
Then in the bottom half of the sixth inning, up 8-7, the Blue Streaks would strike for four runs of insurance summited by three consecutive RBI base hits by Robinson, Becker and Griffin, which gave the Blue and Gold an eventual final score lead of 12-7.
Danilov was credited with the win following the Blue Streaks 12-7 victory — her second of the day — improving to 16-4 overall. Danilov finished the game, allowing only four earned runs on six hits in five innings of work.
Marietta’s Ayla Spoljar fell to 0-1 on the season allowing 11 earned runs on 13 hits in six innings.
John Carroll improves to 24-12 overall on the season, 9-5 OAC. With the Blue and Gold’s two victories this past weekend, they now move into sole possession of second place in the conference standings.
Marietta falls to 18-16 overall, 6-9 in conference play.
With only two games left before OAC Tournament, the Blue Streaks will conclude the 2012 regular season this Saturday, April 28 as they play host to the visiting Heidelberg University ‘Berg in another Saturday doubleheader at Bracken Field as they continue to fight for positioning in the OAC Tournament.