Cap Baseball Outlasted in Pitcher’s Duel with Wooster

Pictured: Brendon Borkey (credit: Jeff Mills)
Pictured: Brendon Borkey (credit: Jeff Mills)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In Capital University Baseball's home opener on Thursday afternoon, the Purple and White engaged in a tight pitcher's duel with the 12th-ranked Fighting Scots of The College of Wooster. Cap had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but the Scots shut the door on the comeback effort, leading to a 3-1 Capital loss.

Down 3-1 and in their last at bat, Capital (8-3) marked up Nanak Saran's near-perfect stat line after three inning of relief work. After not allowing a base hit and only one base runner in the long relief effort, Capital put two runners on when senior Logan Bastin (Mansfield, Ohio/Lexington) and junior Alexander Smith (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) recorded the first hits against Saran with back-to-back singles. Daniel Walters was unable to put down a sacrifice bunt, which was fielded out of the air for the first out.

Sophomore Doug Connor (Pataskala, Ohio/Watkins Memorial) then drew a walk to load the bases and bring senior Brett Colburn to the plate with the potential game-winning run on base. Battling Wooster's number two starter, Colburn succumbed to a game-ending 6-3 double play when he grounded the ball up the middle. Michael Wielansky scooped it up, tagged second and then ended the game on a throw to first to retire Colburn.

Wooster (1-0) turned double plays in consecutive innings to get out of a jam. Saran walked pinch hitter Tyler Osbourne. Beau Otto pinch ran for Osbourne, but Jake Foley grounded into a bang-bang 4-6-3 double play to quell the Capital threat.

Capital and Wooster traded runs in the first inning, though Capital's came in a very unconventional way. Wooster took advantage of a one-out walk and double when four-hitter Jamie Lackner grounded out to Bastin at third. The groundout scored the game's first run, but Capital came back to tie the game by taking advantage of an early error. Connor Hopkins singled and was then followed by a rip to second by Bastin that went through the legs of the Wooster second baseman. With runners one the corners, Smith then grounded to second in what looked to be a potential inning-ending double play, but the throw to first was errant. Hopkins scored while the play was ongoing, but the inning did end when Smith was caught trying to advance to second following the wide throw.

Wooster added its second run the following inning when Jacob Stuursma singled and then stole second base to set up an RBI single by Chandler Dippman. Wooster added its last run in the top of the sixth inning when a walk, infield single and wild pitch set the table for a sacrifice fly by Jake Kail to put Wooster up 3-1.

Senior Shane Wellaman (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) earned the start for Capital but drew the loss after tossing four innings and surrendering two of Wooster's three runs. He struck out two and walked one while giving up five hits.

Senior Brendon Borkey (Kirtland Hills, Ohio/Lake Catholic) got the call in the fifth inning and finished out the game. He struck out six and walked two while only giving up one hit along the way.

On the other side, the combination of Wooster ace Michael Houdek (W, 1-0) and Saran (S, 1) gave up just seven hits and three walks over the course of the game. Two hits and one walk came in the ninth. Houdek threw five innings, struck out six and his lone run allowed went unearned. Saran finished with the long save behind four strikeouts over four innings.

The top half of Capital's lineup account for all seven of its hits with Foley recorded two of those to lead the way. The Fighting Scots were held to just six hits, and no player recorded more than one.

Cap will take the next week off and gear up for a three-game series against Franklin College (Ind.) next weekend. They will play the Grizzlies on Saturday, March 18 in a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. The third game will be played the following day at 12 p.m.