By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
AUBURNDALE, Fla. – For the second time in as many games the Capital University baseball team had the winning run at the plate and was unable to make the last push to land the win. The Crusaders lost a close battle with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Wednesday morning, 6-5, at Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Florida.
Rose-Hulman (3-0) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after a big bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Clay Piatt hit a batter and surrendered three hits to the Fighting Engineers in the inning, but the Crusaders came back later with a big rally of its own.
After stranding runners in scoring position in the first two innings and striking out nine times in two trips through the lineup, the Crusaders strung together a four-hit inning that lead to a five spot in the sixth inning. Andrew Klamfoth led the inning off with a walk and after Shayne Lyons singled, RHIT went to the bullpen for a change that they hoped would stop the rally before it started. It did not.
Relief pitcher Stone Brogan then surrendered a single to senior Joe Caporale that scored Klamfoth from second base. On the play, RHIT centerfielder David Burnside booted the ball and allowed both runners to advance, placing them on second and third. The error would not matter after sophomore Drew Ellis slammed a triple to score both Lyons and Caporale to make a 4-3 score with no outs. Ellis scored to tie the game when Brogan threw the ball away on a failed pickoff and allowed pinch runner Cameron McCloud to advance to second. Junior Connor Richardson then gave Cap its first lead when he hit a single to right field, scoring McCloud, but the inning ended when he attempted to stretch the hit into a double and was pegged at second.
The Crusaders held that advantage until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Engineers used three doubles to plate two runs and retake the lead. CU reliever Nick Beck started his third frame of relief before giving way to Kyle Armbrecht (L, 0-1) after giving up a two-out double. The sophomore then surrendered back-to-back run-scoring doubles before Ryan Metcalf came in to put the rally down.
After a scoreless top of the eighth, Cap came back in the ninth down to its last three outs and again put itself in a place to tie or take the lead. Beau Otto led the inning off with the single but Brian Pershing (S, 1) came back to retire the next three Crusaders in order to complete a two-inning save.
Otto finished the day with three hits, as did teammate Joe Caporale.
Capital (0-5) returns to the diamond against Saint Mary's University (Minn.) on Thursday, February 28. The Cardinals and Crusaders will toss the first pitch from Lake Myrtle Park in Auburndale, Fla. at 12 p.m.