By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Coming off of a loss to Hanover College (Ind.) on Sunday, Capital University Baseball rebounded with a thrilling come-from-behind, 9-8 win over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.) on Monday afternoon. Travis Gilbert played the hero with a go-ahead, run-scoring double in the eighth inning to put the Crusaders out in front for good.
Capital (2-2) had possessed a lead for most of Monday afternoon's game against the Fightin' Engineers, but RHIT scored four unearned runs in the top of the seventh to gain an 8-6 lead. Zackary Ary's sacrifice fly in Cap's next at-bat trimmed the lead to one and set up the dramatics in the following inning.
Connor Richardson led the inning off by reaching on an error by the RHIT third baseman. After a hit batsman, Joe Caporale's attempted sacrificed failed, but a walk to Jared Nicholas loaded the bases with one out. Senior Travis Gilbert (Marion, Ky./Crittenden County) then stepped up to the plate on the first pitch launched a single that scored Connor and Caporale.
Nick Beck (W, 1-0) was asked to close the door on Rose-Hulman and entered his third inning of work when taking the mound in the ninth. The junior walked the leadoff man but did not let it affect his performance against the next three Fightin' Engineers hitters. Beck retired the next three batters by forcing a fly out, strikeout and a game-ending lineout to close the book on the win.
The bottom of the Capital order did great damage to the RHIT pitching staff. The 7-8-9 hitters, Nicholas, Gilbert and Ary, went a combined 6-for-12 with six runs batted in. Senior Alexander Smith (Elk Grove, Calif./Consumnes Oaks) led the team with three hits and scored the game's first run on a balk.
Nick Beck (Chardon, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) took the win after going 2.1 innings without giving up a hit and struck out two batters. Sophomore Ross Thompson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) earned the no-decision in his first start after going 5.2 innings. He struck out five and gave up three runs, one earned.
In previous action …
On Sunday, February 25 the Crusaders took in a 4-1 loss at the hands of Hanover College (Ind.). Alexander Smith tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the seventh with a run-scoring double, but the Panthers scored three runs over their final two at-bats against Capital reliever Drew Ellis (L, 0-1). While the Crusaders left eight runners on base, they did a good job limiting what damage could have been after Capital pitching helped strand 11 Hanover runners on base. Freshman Clay Piatt (Granville, Ohio/Granville) pitched five innings of three-hit, one-run ball with nine strikeouts in that time.