When the John Carroll baseball team worked out in the offseason, head coach Marc Thibeault unveiled a new philosophy: his team would be accountable, blue-collar, competitive, relentless and tough.
Midway through April, that philosophy seems to be taking hold.
The Blue Streaks split a doubleheader with the Mount Union Purple Raiders on Friday, April 12 and dominated the Otterbein Cardinals in a doubleheader on Sunday, April 14.
Junior Mitchell Herringshaw drove in six runs over the weekend, but it was JCU’s pitching that made the biggest splash in the three victories.
John Carroll struck early in the first game Friday afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead off an Aaron Miller RBI single. The Purple Raiders fought back, scoring four runs off junior starter Jimmy Spagna in his complete game effort. Miller would add another run in the sixth, scoring freshman Tyler Gentile on a groundout, but it was not enough, as Mount Union would take the game by a final score of 4-2.
Freshman Aaron Lapaglia led the way for the Blue Streaks in the second game, striking out eight and only allowing one run in the 5-2 victory. Herringshaw would drive in two with a double in the third inning, but the biggest play came off the bat of Spagna. The junior connected on a Sam Clarke pitch and punched it deep over the left center field wall for a two-run home run.
Weather delays caused a rare Sunday doubleheader against the Cardinals. In game one, senior pitcher Patrick O’Brien delivered what might be his signature performance as a Blue Streak. O’Brien received only six hits of support, but the hurler allowed just two Cardinal hits and struck out five. Herringshaw gave O’Brien the team’s lone run in the third inning when the third baseman sent a double to left field, scoring freshman Tyler Gentile on the play. JCU would go on to win, 1-0.
The long dormant Blue Streaks bats came alive in the second game, as the team teed off on four Otterbein pitchers on the way to an 11-3 victory. Herringshaw had just one hit, but it was an opposite field double that brought home three and broke the game open early.
Sophomore Andrew Doring struck out nine batters in 5.1 innings, but was pulled early after throwing over 100 pitches. Sophomore Kevin Rosinski, junior Billy Turosky and freshman Zach Verner slammed the door on the Cardinals in relief, clinching the doubleheader sweep.
With the wins, the Blue Streaks improved to 18-9 overall and 7-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The three victories pushed the team above Otterbein and left them just a game behind Baldwin Wallace University and Marietta College in the OAC standings.
“We have to continue to play one game at a time, and not look past any weaker opponents,” Herringshaw said of the remainder of the season. “We have been coming out with a lot of intensity and we must keep that up.”