Bearing the burden of a four-game losing streak, the John Carroll University baseball team entered this past weekend eager for a win.
Despite a strange set of circumstances, the Blue Streaks earned a critical pair of victories of Capital University on Sunday, March 19 advancing to 21-9 overall, 10-4 in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
Weather has frequently affected the baseball team’s schedule this spring, but a different factor caused an unforeseen change in JCU’s plans last weekend: Capital neglected to schedule umpires for Saturday’s twinbill.
Due to Capital’s folly, the games were postponed until Sunday. Per league rules, the twinbill was moved to Schweickert Field, with the Blue Streaks playing as the visitors on their own field. The Blue and Gold still made the best of the situation, earning a pair of victories thanks to solid outings from the team’s two aces.
Junior Brandon Maddern started the first game for JCU, delivering a beauty of an outing. Maddern surrendered just one run on four hits in six innings of work, stifling Capital’s offense with ease.
Mark Huddle served as the catalyst for the JCU offense, knocking in all three runs on two crucial hits. The senior slapped a two-run single to right center in the fourth and smacked an RBI double down the left field line in the sixth. Huddle now leads the team with a .415 batting average and 35 RBI on the year.
Thanks to Huddle and Co., Maddern notched the win, advancing to 3-2 on the year. Senior Aaron Lapaglia earned a save for three innings of solid work in relief.
The Blue Streaks followed a slightly different path to victory in game two. Following an early Capital outburst, JCU honed in and hung on for a narrow win.
Senior Andrew Doring started the second contest for the Blue Streaks, but didn’t begin the game with his usual zest. Instead, the Crusaders scored four runs in the first two innings to grab an early advantage.
Luckily for JCU, Doring found his groove. Doring struck out seven over the next four and two-thirds innings, allowing the Blue Streaks to mount a comeback. Capital errors also aided the JCU effort.
After notching an unearned run in the second stanza, the Blue Streaks added on runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Senior David Crowley scored on a Capital fielding error following a two-out single by freshman Jacob Schriner in the fourth. Junior Tyler Gentile scored from third on a wild pitch in the fifth. Freshman James Molnar and senior Rob Cifelli then tagged RBI singles in the sixth to round out the rally.
For good measure, the Blue Streaks added an insurance run in the ninth, as Crowley doubled down the right field line to plate Gentile and give JCU’s bullpen room to breathe.
Even still, Capital nearly caused the JCU faithful to hyperventilate, as the Crusaders loaded the bases with two outs in the final frame. Lapaglia stayed calm, however, eliciting a flyout from Capital’s cleanup hitter and securing his second save of the day.
The Blue Streaks now sit at 21-10 on the season.