By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
MARIETTA, Ohio – Capital University Baseball travelled down to the hills of Southeastern Ohio on Sunday for a rescheduled doubleheader on Sunday against No. 16 Marietta College but unfortunately for the Crusaders, the Purple and White dropped a pair of one-run games to the Pioneers.
Game 1 – Capital 1, Marietta 2
The Crusaders dropped a pitchers' duel in the first game of the doubleheader, a game in which the two teams combined for only nine hits.
The Pioneers struck first in the bottom of the first inning after a leadoff double and then an RBI single gave Marietta a 1-0 lead.
Neither team was able to scratch out a run until the Crusaders tied the game in the seventh. After two ground outs to start the inning, Connor Richardson (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg – Summit) singled to the left side and advance to third after Daniel Walters (Concord, Ohio/Riverside) singled. With Drew Ellis (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) at the plate, the freshman reached safely on an error by Marietta's third baseman and Richardson was able to score.
The final blow was struck by the Pioneers in the eighth, though. Chris Petrucci reached base on a throwing error and then advanced to third after stealing second and another throwing error. On the next batter, Shane Fetsko struck out swinging but reached first on a wild pitch and Petrucci raced home to score the go-ahead run. The Crusaders went down in order in the ninth.
Senior pitcher Patrick Avellano (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) pitched 7 2/3 innings and struck out eight while limiting Marietta to four hits. He also waked two and his wild pitch allowed the Pioneers to pull ahead. Joseph Borkey (Kirtland, Ohio/Lake Catholic) came in in the eighth to relieve him. Scott Oberhelman pitched seven strong for Marietta and only allowed five hits while not issuing a single walk.
At the plate, five different Crusaders managed a hit but none had more than a single base knock.
Game 2 – Capital 8, Marietta 9
The second game of the day was a roller coaster of an offensive battle as the teams trade leads in each of the first three innings and went back and forth with five lead changes. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, that fifth and final lead change occurred in the bottom of the ninth as Marietta walked it off to win.
In the home half of the final frame, the first two batters were each retired on 3-2 pitches, one a fly out and the other a strike out. Mike Hale then worked a two-out walk to give the Pioneers a baserunner and he stole second. Michael Barnabei then entered the game as a pinch hitter and with two strikes doubled down the line in right to tie the game at eight. The next batter, Damian Yenzi then singled, allowing Barnabei to score the winning run.
Borkey took the loss after taking over with two outs in the ninth for Alex Mukensturm (Tecumseh, Mich./Tecumseh). Ross Thompson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) started on the hill but went only 2 2/3 innings. Nick Beck (Chardon, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) and Casey Hamrick (Westerville, Ohio/Worthington Christian) also pitched for Capital.
Marietta opened the scoring on Thompson in the bottom of the first with two singles that each scored a run, including one from Hale. Capital came right back to take a 3-2 lead in the second though when Ellis, Travis Gilbert (Marion, Ky./Crittenden County) and Joe Caporale (Mayfield, Ohio/Mayfield) had back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles after Daniel Walters put a runner on with a double of his own.
The Pioneers reclaimed the lead with two runs in the third and scored three more in the fourth but Capital stormed back themselves. In the sixth inning, the Crusaders loaded the bases after a fielder's choice, hit by pitch and walk and Gilbert brought a run in after he was hit himself. Caporale followed that with a two-run single that made it a 7-6 Marietta lead. In the seventh, the Crusaders took the lead after Ellis knocked in another and Gilbert had an RBI single.
Gilbert finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Caporale did the same. Ellis was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and two walks.
Capital (11-11, 2-4 Ohio Athletic Conference) has another road doubleheader on Tuesday, April 10 at Muskingum University next up on the schedule. The first game of that set is slated for a 1 p.m. start.