Having won seven of their previous nine games coming into their doubleheader against the Heidelberg Student Princes, the John Carroll University baseball team certainly had momentum on their side. With the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament right around the corner, the Blue Streaks seemed to be peaking at the right time with their recent hot streak.
And then Sunday came.
Traveling to Tiffin, Ohio on Sunday, April 29, the Blue Streaks couldn’t keep up with the Student Princes as they dropped consecutive road games against the home team, losing by scores of 7-1 and 10-9.
After an RBI single from senior Tom Hickey in the top of the first inning, the Blue Streaks held a narrow 1-0 lead early in game one of the doubleheader. However, the Student Princes dominated the game from there. Heidelberg responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, claiming the lead for good in game one. The Student Princes tacked on their other five runs during the third, fourth and fifth innings en route to picking up a 7-1 win over the Blue Streaks at home.
Game two of the doubleheader between the Blue Streaks and Student Princes proved to be a much different, much closer contest – but ultimately ended with the same result.
The Blue and Gold again began the game with the offensive fireworks rolling, as they scored two runs in the top of the first to give themselves the early 2-0 lead. JCU then tacked on one more run in the second inning before the Student Princes responded with a run of their own, cutting the Blue Streaks’ lead to 3-1 after two innings. However, JCU responded once again with two more runs, giving themselves a healthy 5-1 lead after three innings of baseball.
Then the offense began to come alive for Heidelberg.
The Student Princes scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the bottom of the fifth, claiming a 6-5 lead over JCU in the process.
In the top of the seventh inning, sophomore Jimmy Spagna belted a home run to tie the game at an even score of 6-6. Then, in the top of the eighth inning, a two-out rally proved to be just what the Blue Streaks needed.
With two outs in the inning, junior Joe Veltri walked to get the rally going for JCU. Sophomore Mitch Herringshaw then singled, putting runners on first and second for the Blue Streaks. Hickey then connected on a single, and an error from the Heidelberg left fielder allowed both Veltri and Herringshaw to round third base and score, giving JCU an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the bottom half of the eighth, Heidelberg again proved how potent their offense could be as they rounded off four runs in the inning to take back the lead, 10-8, in the ball game.
In the top of the ninth inning, trailing by two runs, the Blue Streaks tried to put together one last offensive assault. Junior Aaron Miller singled to begin the inning and was followed by another single from junior Ryan Konsler. With runners on first and second, freshman Connor Marrero then sacrificed a bunt to advance each runner over one base. Pinch-hitting for freshman Bobby Sabatino, freshman David Lykens then grounded out to the shortstop but drove in a run in the process, cutting the lead to one for Heidelberg. However, a groundout to second base from sophomore Dan Potter ended the Blue Streaks’ rally, clinching the 10-9 win for the Student Princes over JCU.
The Blue and Gold will next play on Saturday, May 5 in Ada, Ohio as they take on the Ohio Northern Polar Bears in another OAC baseball doubleheader.