By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Capital University Baseball headed out on the road on Saturday but did not have to travel far to meet crosstown rival Otterbein University in an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader. After forcing extra innings in the day's first game but ultimately falling to the Cardinals, the Crusaders rebounded with a 12-hit second game and are coming home with a series split.
Game 1 – Capital 6, Otterbein 7 (10 innings)
In the first game of the day, Capital battled back from several deficits to force extra innings before eventually falling just short.
Trailing 5-4 in the ninth, Bryce Grisez became Capital's first baserunner of the inning with a single to right. After an Otterbein pitching change, Drew Ellis reached first safely on an error and Grisez moved ahead to second. The error proved costly for the Cardinals as another Otterbein error allowed Shayne Lyons to reach base and for Grisez to come home and tie the game.
In the 10th, Connor Richardson led off with a single for Capital and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Beau Otto then smoked a ball through the left side of Otterbein's infield and Richardson hustled home to score and give Capital a 6-5 lead. The Crusaders were not able to inflict any further damage though and in the bottom of the inning were walked off. Back-to-back singles for Otterbein gave the Cardinals two baserunners and then the Crusaders intentionally walked Ben Beachy to load the bases. A walk to Tyler Thompson forced a run in to tie the game and then with two outs, Luke Barber singled to the outfield to end the game.
Otterbein began the scoring with a run in the first inning but the Crusaders scored three runs of their own in the second. A double from Otto scored two and then the third run scored as Ellis grounded in to a fielder's choice.
Otterbein answered with a run in each the second and third innings to tie the game and then scored two more in the fifth. Down 5-3 in the eighth, a two-out single from Konnor Black made it a one-run game as Richardson scored on the hit and then the Crusaders tied it in the ninth.
Richardson led Capital with three hits and three runs in five at-bats. Otto and Grisez each recorded two hits and Otto's three RBIs led the team. Senior pitcher Alex Mukensturm allowed three runs, two earned, in the start and struck out three over four innings. Tate Virts and Caporale each allowed two runs in relief.
Game 2 – Capital 7, Otterbein 4
The second game got off to a much more positive start for Capital as Lyons and Joe Caporale each singled in the first before Richardson launched a three-run home run over the fence in left to give the Crusaders a 3-0 lead.
Capital added two more runs in the second inning to go ahead 5-0. Mitchell Bodden led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch and then Grisez singled. Ellis bunted both runners ahead a base and Lyons allowed both to come home with a single through the right side.
The Crusaders added two runs in the sixth inning with another RBI single from Lyons and a sacrifice bunt from Caporale that scored Ellis.
Otterbein got on the board with a four-run response in the bottom of the sixth but Capital did not allow any further damage.
Capital starter Scott Gutstein pitched eight strong innings, striking out seven while allowing only the four runs. Nick Beck came on to pitch the ninth and struck out two to earn his first save of the season.
Richardson finished the game 2-for-4 with the home run and three RBIs. Lyons went 3-for-5 with three RBIs as well. Caporale went 2-for-4 with an RBI and his second hit was the 100th hit of the senior's career.
The Crusaders did not commit an error and outhit the Cardinals 12-10.
If weather allows, the Crusaders will play at Ohio Wesleyan University on Sunday, April 14 with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Capital will then travel to Wilmington College on Tuesday, April 16 for another OAC doubleheader.