By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Baseball stepped onto the grass at Clowson Field for the first time in a competitive game on Tuesday against Wittenberg University and used the home-field advantage to sweep the Tigers. Capital took the first game 4-2 and then came from behind to complete the sweep with a 6-5 win.
Game 1 – Wittenberg 2, Capital 4
The Crusaders started the day well in the first game of the day as all three Wittenberg batters in the first who came to the plate were retired and then Capital scored a trio of runs.
After an out, Drew Ellis drew a walk and advanced to third on a Joe Caporale double down the line in left. Junior first baseman Shayne Lyons then sent a ball out to deep center that was caught but allowed Ellis to tag and score for Capital's first run. Capital's next batter, Connor Richardson, then singled to center to score Caporale and the Crusaders led 2-0. A walk to Andrew Klamfoth moved Richardson to second and Richardson came around to score on a single by Brandon Barnette through the left side of the infield.
Senior starting pitcher Alex Mukensturm was on fire on the mound for Capital and allowed only one hit through the first three innings. The Tigers were able to touch Muckensturm up for two runs in the fourth though after three consecutive singles loaded the bases. Capital was able to get the force at third during Wittenberg's next plate appearance but JC Bricker smacked a two-run single to close the gap to just one run. Muckensturm was able to get the remaining two outs though to limit the damage.
Mukensturm pitched the fifth inning before giving way to Tate Virts and Virts lasted until the eighth when he was relieved by Ellis. Muckensturm gave up just the two runs on six hits to pick up his first win of the season. He struck out four. Virts struck out one and walked one in two hitless innings and Ellis gave up one hit while striking out two to earn his second save of the year.
Capital added an insurance run in the eighth thanks to another RBI single from Richardson. Richardson finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Caporale went 1-for-2 and drew two walks.
Game 2 – Wittenberg 5, Capital 6
The day's second game started the opposite way as the first as Wittenberg loaded the bases with its first three batters in the top of the first and then scored three runs to jump out to an early lead. The Crusaders quickly responded though with two runs in their half of the frame courtesy of a two-RBI double from Richardson.
The Tigers extended their lead in the fourth with a two-run single to go ahead 5-2 but again the Crusaders battled back. In the fifth, Mitchell Bodden led off with a walk and he advanced to second two batters later as Ellis singled through the left side. An error loaded the bases for Lyons and the junior singled to shrink the deficit to two runs. Richardson then followed Lyons with a sacrifice fly that scored Ellis and the Crusaders trailed by only a score.
In the sixth, Ben Bethay struck out to start the inning but Cameron McCloud was hit by a pitch to give Capital its first runner and then Boddedn was hit as well. After an out, Ellis was hit by a new pitcher to juice the bases. An error then allowed two runs to score as the Crusaders took a 6-5 lead.
Pitcher Ryan Metcalf pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings for Capital and Ellis came on to close out the win for his second save of the day. Metcalf, the winning pitcher, hurled 3 1/3 innings while allowing only one hit and one walk and striking out three. Ellis struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth.
Richardson finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Lyons was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run and a walk.
With the wins, Capital improved to 4-8 overall this season and will face its first Ohio Athletic Conference foe this upcoming Saturday in another home doubleheader. The Crusaders will welcome John Carroll University to Clowson Field on March 23 with the two games scheduled for 1 and 4 p.m.