AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Opening Day 2017 was a success for the Capital University baseball team. The Crusaders took the field for the first time this season in Auburndale, Fla. on Saturday as part of the RussMatt Invitational, and defeated Waynesburg University twice in a pair of seven inning games. Cap earned wins by scores of 4-3 and 15-6 and will take its 2-0 record back into play against Augustana College (Ill.) for a single game on Sunday afternoon.
GAME 1 – WAYNESBURG 3, CAPITAL 4
Senior Shane Wellman (Moundsville, W.Va.) showed that he is on the fast track to his pre-injury form after tossing five innings and striking out four in a no-decision. Wellman surrendered eight hits and three runs, all earned, and did not walk a hitter.
Capital trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, and mounted a three-run inning to take the lead and set up the Crusaders' bullpen. Capital's Alexander Smith (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) led the frame off with a triple to the gap in right center field. Senior Justin Ennis (Vista, Calif.) drove home the junior with a ground out to the right side, but Cap still trailed by one run. Sophomore Doug Connor came up with two outs and reached on a throwing error by Waynesburg shortstop Nate Mori. Following a walk to sophomore Joe Caporale, nine hitter Zackary Ary (London, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) singled home the game-tying run and moved Caporale to third. Senior Jake Foley (Pataskala, Ohio/Licking Heights) kept the two-out rally going with an infield single to the third base side, scoring Caporale for the eventual game-winning run.
Junior Joseph Borkey (Kirtland Hills, Ohio/Lake Catholic) locked down the seventh and earned his first save of the year with a one-two-three seventh inning. He struck out one hitter and forced two groundouts from the nine, one and two hitters out of the Waynesburg lineup.
Junior Casey Hamrick (Westerville, Ohio/Worthington Christian) earned the win after pitching a flawless top of the sixth.
Foley recorded three of Capital's six hits on the day, all singles. He went 3-for-4 with one run batted in. Smith had two hits in three official plate appearances. Ary also recorded a hit and one RBI, but also scored after being walked in the third inning. Senior Brett Colburn drove Ary in on a sacrifice fly ball.
GAME 2 – CAPITAL 15, WAYNESBURG 6
Capital's offense exploded for 18 hits and 15 runs in their second meeting with Waynesburg, which also was a seven-inning affair. Senior Brendon Borkey (Kirtland Hills, Ohio/Lake Catholic) tossed four solid innings of work in his first start of the year and earned the win. He struck out four, walked two, allowed just two hits and zero runs.
Waynesburg's runs came in two sets of three in the sixth and seventh innings against the backend of Capital's bullpen.
Capital wasted no time in putting runs on the board, scoring six times in the opening inning. The Purple and White bounced Waynesburg starting pitcher Jacob Meyer after just two-thirds of an inning, and scored five of their six runs with two outs. Colburn recorded a one-out triple and was driven home by a single from senior Logan Bastin (Mansfield, Ohio/Lexington). With two outs, junior Daniel Walters (Concord, Ohio/Riverside) wrecked a run-scoring double to put Cap up 2-0. Senior Tyler Gibbons (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East) and Caporale added RBI singles before junior Travis Gilbert (Marion, Ky./Crittenden County) smacked a big two-run double to account for the last of Capital's runs.
Gilbert added to his breakout game with the second of his three run-scoring hits, this time a double to the right center field gap. He then added an RBI single as part of Cap's five-run fourth inning. Caporale also contributed to the five-run fourth with a two-RBI double.
Gilbert finished the game hitting 3-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBIs, all new game and season highs.
Also posting multi-hit games were Colburn (2), freshman Tyler Osborne (2), and Walters (2).
Capital will be back in action on Sunday, February 26 at 12 p.m. for a nine-inning game against Augustana College (Ill.).