Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, the John Carroll University and Otterbein University baseball teams appeared to be even, at least on paper.
The results told a different story.
The Blue Streaks (18-5, 7-1 OAC) demolished the Cardinals (16-8, 5-5 OAC) in both games of an Ohio Athletic Conference twinbill at Schweickert Field on Saturday, April 11. The Blue and Gold secured victories of 12-5 and 11-1 to stay atop the OAC.
The hosts set the tone early with a two-run effort in the first inning. Senior Rob Cifelli walked to begin the frame and senior Bobby Sabatino advanced him to third with a double, setting the stage for junior Tyler Gentile. The team’s top hitter tagged a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Cifelli in the process. Senior Mark Huddle then singled to bring in Sabatino and give starter Brandon Maddern an early 2-0 cushion.
The junior pitcher cruised through the second, but surrendered a run in both the third and the fourth. The Blue Streaks got the runs back in the bottom half of the fourth with another Sabatino double and an RBI groundout by Gentile.
The Blue and Gold tacked on another run in the fifth to up the lead to 5-2, but the pesky Cardinals refused to quit. Otterbein narrowed the deficit to two with a pair of runs in the sixth before reliever Kyle Witkowski slammed the door on Otterbein’s rally.
The Blue Streaks mounted a two-run response in the next frame, with Cifelli and Mike Raschilla notching RBIs. Otterbein added a run in the top of the seventh, but five consecutive JCU runs quashed any hopes of a late Cardinal comeback in game one. Cifelli, Sabatino, and Huddle all tabbed multi-hit games to help Maddern advance his record to 3-1 on the year with the 12-5 triumph.
The result of game two bore a similar score, but was characterized by a lack of willpower by the Cardinals. While Otterbein fought tooth and nail in the first contest, JCU’s offensive onslaught demoralized the Cardinals in the second match, leading to a lopsided win.
The bottom half of the first began innocently enough for Otterbein starter Ross Wilson, as he recorded two outs to begin the frame, but things quickly went awry.
A two-out Gentile single began a series of unfortunate events for the Cardinals. By the time the dust settled, the Blue Streaks had floated Wilson for five runs and taken a definitive lead that would stand for the rest of the game.
Otterbein managed to plate a run in the third, but it would be the only blemish on senior Andrew Doring’s resumé. The JCU’s ace advanced to 7-0 on the year with a four-hit effort over eight innings. Doring struck out 14 in a dominant day for the senior.
JCU’s hitters experienced plenty of success, too, with seven of the squad’s nine hitters recording hits. Raschilla shined the brightest for the Blue Streaks, hitting 3-of-5 with two runs scored and three RBI.
JCU also took the field on Tuesday, April 14 for a double-header against Heidelberg University. The Blue Streaks feel 6-0 in game one and 17-2 in game two. The Blue and Gold now sit at 19-8 on the season and 8-4 in OAC play with 11 games left in the regular season.