By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
BEREA, Ohio – Despite Mother Nature's intentions, Capital University Baseball and John Carroll University got their two-game Ohio Athletic Conference series played on Sunday at Baldwin Wallace University and the Crusaders swept the Blue Streaks, Capital's first sweep of JCU since 2006.
Game 1 – Capital 5, John Carroll 3
While it might be hard to tell from the final score, there is no doubt that this game was a pitchers' duel. Neither team was able to score until the bottom of the seventh inning and until that point the teams combined for 13 hits.
The Blue Streaks struck first with two runs in the bottom of the seventh but Capital responded with a four-run eighth. The inning began with back-to-back singles from Ben Bethay and Joe Caporale. Zackary Ary brought in the first Capital run with an RBI single and a batter later, Connor Hopkins bunted for a single that scored Caporale and tied the game. Two batters later, Shayne Lyons kept the hit parade moving with a single to left that allowed Hopkins to come home and Connor Richardson completed the four-run frame with a double to center that scored Lyons.
Ary singled in another run in the top of the ninth to increase Capital's lead to three. John Carroll scored a two-out run in the bottom of the ninth but the door was slammed shut before any further damage was done.
Capital starter Patrick Avellano pitched eight masterful innings of three-run ball (two earned) and allowed 10 hits while striking out seven. Joseph Borkey relieved Avellano in the ninth and struck out one while earning the save. Steven Virost, John Carroll's starter, also went eight innings and struck out nine while allowing four runs. Nicholas Michel pitched the ninth inning and allowed a run.
Ary led the Crusaders with three hits and two RBIs and also stole a base. Hopkins, Richardson and Bethay each had two hits.
Game 2 – Capital 11, John Carroll 5
The Crusaders wasted no time scoring in the second game of the day with three runs in the second inning. After Richardson led off the inning with a single up the middle, Hopkins singled to right and Richardson moved to third. A sacrifice fly from Travis Gilbert scored Richardson for the first run of the game. Caporale followed the productive out with a double and Ary did it again at the plate with a single that scored Hopkins and Caporale.
Ary added another RBI to his total with a sac fly in the fourth and four runs in the fifth put Cap up 8-0. Lyons led off the inning with a single and scored on a double from Richardson for the first run of the inning. Drew Ellis extended Capital's lead to six by scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning and Ary added yet another RBI with another single. Caporale scored Capital's eighth run on an attempted throw to second meant to catch Ary stealing but both runners were safe.
The Blue Streaks pulled one run back in the bottom of the fifth but a wild pitch in the sixth allowed Alexander Smith to score and bring the lead right back up to eight. Smith then doubled down the rightfield line in the seventh, scoring Ary and putting Cap up 10-1. Mitchell Bodden scored Capital's 11th run on a failed pickoff attempt at first that eluded the first baseman. John Carroll scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth but it was too little, too late for the Blue Streaks.
Not to be outdone by Avellano, starter Ross Thompson pitched 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts while only giving up three hits. Nick Beck relieved Thompson in the eighth and allowed four runs in an inning of work. Alex Muckensturm recorded the final out of the game.
At the plate, Ary continued his hot play with three hits and three more RBIs. Smith and Richardson also each recorded three hits and Lyons had two.
Capital will bring its 2-0 conference record back to Bexley but play a nonconference game at Bluffton University on Tuesday, March 27 at 4 p.m. before hosting Ohio Northern University on March 30.