The Capital University baseball team opened the 2014 Ohio Athletic Conference season Saturday by splitting a doubleheader at Muskingum.
The Crusaders (10-5 overall, 1-1 OAC) won the opener 9-4 before dropping the second contest 8-5.
In the first game, Capital tallied in three of the first four innings and never trailed in the contest. Seven different players knocked in runs for the Crusaders, who totaled 12 hits.
Senior pitcher Justin Hoying (Ft. Loramie, Ohio) picked up the win in his first decision of the season. The right-hander scattered seven hits and surrendered thre earned runs in six innings of work. Senior lefty Kevin Brennan (Mason, Ohio) tossed two scoreless innings in relief, and sophomore right-hander Jeff Small (Sylvania, Ohio) pitched a scoreless ninth.
Senior third baseman Ryan Pearson (Springfield, Ohio) started the Crusaders' four-run first inning with a sacrifice fly. Capital followed with three two-out runs on run-scoring hits by junior first baseman Matt Carnahan (Moundsville, W.Va.), freshman designated hitter Logan Bastin (Lexington, Ohio) and senior second baseman Anthony Calabrese (Hudson, Ohio).
In the second, senior left fielder Taylor Branisel (South Euclid, Ohio) singled to right field to score a run, Pearson hit another sacrifice fly and Bastin knocked in his second run of the game with a base hit to left.
The Crusaders tacked on two more in the fourth as sophomore catcher Kirby Boehm (Worthington, Ohio) hit a sacrifice fly and senior shortstop Brian Wyer (New Albany, Ohio) walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
Branisel finished 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. Calabrese, Bastin and senior centerfielder Nate Campbell (Latrobe, Pa.) registered two hits apiece.
The Muskies (6-7, 1-1) pounded out 14 hits in the nightcap, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning and never looking back.
Bastin and senior right fielder Andy Grillo (McArthur, Ohio) led the Crusaders with two hits, while Branisel, Grillo, Calabrese, Pearson and Boehm each tallied an RBI.
Capital threatened to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the ninth, recording two runs and loading the bases with two outs, but came up just short in its comeback effort with the go-ahead run at bat.
Senior RHP Jeremy Finchum (Galloway, Ohio) was dealt the loss, dropping to 2-2 on the year. Senior left-hander Jared Lee (North Bend, Ohio) and freshman righty Shane Wellman (Moundsville, W.Va.) tossed one scoreless inning apiece in relief.
Capital resumes play Monday at Ohio Lancaster. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.