JCU Baseball splits with Marietta in tough OAC doubleheader last weekend


JCU Sports Information Department

Justin Hanley is at bat for John Carroll as the Baseball team continues on their impressive season.

Michael Gallipoli, Staff Reporter

Coming off a doubleheader against Mount Union, John Carroll was tasked with taking on one of the best teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference, the Marietta Pioneers. The Blue Streaks split the doubleheader, displaying a comeback win in game one and a heartbreaking loss in extra innings in game two. 

Game One

Marietta started the game off with strong bats resulting in runners on base. Nick Bonnizz reached base on an error by the shortstop and, shortly after, Brett Carson ripped a single to the shortstop and got on base. A sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third and Marietta threatened to open up the game early. JCU’s starting pitcher Matthew Aukerman ‘23 was up to the challenge, striking out the last batter and ending the threat. 

The second and third innings looked familiar for the Pioneers as they were able to get runners in scoring position but were unable to capitalize. The Blue and Gold struggled to get anything going offensively, suffering 1-2-3 innings in the second and the third.

In the fourth inning, Marietta’s Cole Yeager broke the scoring drought with a solo home run and Carson added to the Pioneers’ lead with an RBI single, bringing the score to 2-0. Meanwhile, John Carroll continued to struggle offensively, managing only three hits in the first four innings.

After the Pioneers scored again at the start of the sixth inning, the Blue Streaks responded with a burst of offense. Justin Hanley (graduate student) started the rally with a single to left field, allowing Michael Persichetti ‘25 to score. Sean Connolly ‘25 also contributed an RBI, bringing in Joe Olsavsky ‘24 and reducing the deficit to just one run. Then, with a pitching change as Kail Hill took over for Trent Valentine, Erik Daugenti ‘24 hit the Blue and Gold’s third RBI single of the game, tying the score at three apiece.

After Marietta scored a couple of runs in the seventh inning to regain the lead, John Carroll refused to give up in what was the most crucial series of the year. With the bases loaded and no outs, Olsavsky hit a double down the right-field line, bringing in two more runs for the Blue Streaks and tying the game at 5-5. 

Later on, a sacrifice fly from Connolly broke the tie and gave the Blue and Gold their first lead of the game. But the scoring didn’t end there. Following an RBI single from Daugenti, Logan LaMere ‘24 hit an RBI double down the right-field line, taking the score to 9-5.

After the Pioneers failed to score in the top of the eighth inning, the Blue Streaks continued to dominate, adding five more runs to their tally. LaMere contributed with another RBI double, extending the lead. With the bases loaded, Persichetti and Olsavsky took advantage, bringing in two more runs for the Blue and Gold and giving them a commanding 15-5 lead.

Marietta managed to score one run in the top of the ninth, but it was not enough to mount a comeback as they lost to John Carroll, 15-6, in the first game. This victory marked the first win against the Pioneers since 2019 and the most runs ever scored by a JCU team against the visiting team. Additionally, in the fourth inning, LaMere threw out his 25th base runner, setting a new Blue Streak record.

Henry Darrow ‘23 pitched the final three innings and struck out four batters in a winning effort.

Game Two

After securing a comeback win in the first game, the Blue and Gold found themselves in a similar situation in the second game, trailing early once again. Bonnizzio wasted no time getting on base with a single to center field in the first at-bat of the game. Carson followed suit with a single of his own, putting runners on first and third. A sacrifice fly from Ty Davis brought Bonnizzio home, earning the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, John Carroll loaded the bases with two outs. Connolly seized the opportunity and hit a single to center field, allowing Bryce Holt ‘23 and Olsavsky to score, giving John Carroll a 2-1 lead.

Michael Persichetti crosses home plate to add a score for the Blue and Gold. (JCU Sports Information Department)

After a 45-minute rain delay in the middle of the third inning, the scoring picked up in the fourth. The Pioneers appeared revitalized following the delay, with their first three batters all reaching base. Matthew Busby delivered an RBI single to tie the game. 

Following a pitching change as Jamon Higley ‘24 replaced Jon Ambro (graduate student), the Pioneers added four more runs. Bonnizzio and Carson both hit RBIs to give them a two-run lead. A sacrifice fly from Valentine brought in another run and Carson finished his stellar play with a steal to home plate, bringing the score to 6-2. 

Just when it seemed like the deficit was insurmountable, Hanley hit a three-run homer to left field, cutting the Blue Streaks’ deficit to one. This homer was Hanley’s 22nd of his career, tying Jim Wideikis’ career record set in 1999.

With an RBI single from Holt, the Blue and Gold tied the game at 6-6 and seized the lead on a wild pitch by Marietta’s Jacob Rocky, allowing Olsavsky to score, making it 7-6. However, Pioneer’s Ty Davis tied the game again with a game-tying RBI in the eighth inning. 

Both teams were deadlocked until the tenth inning when Marietta’s Brett Carson tripled, setting up Davis for the go-ahead RBI to give the Pioneers an 8-7 lead. Despite Maxwell Schumaker’s ‘23 strikeout for the third out in the tenth inning, John Carroll couldn’t walk off as pitcher Zach Marzetz got three groundouts ending the Blue Streaks day. 

Higley provided a solid relief performance with four innings, allowing only three hits and one run while striking out two. 

John Carroll’s next game will be a doubleheader against the Wilmington Quakers on Sat., April 29 with the first game starting at 1:00 p.m.