By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Heading into the stretch run ahead of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament, Capital University Baseball has some work to do to qualify for the tournament. The Crusaders took a step towards qualification on Monday though by splitting with the conference-leading Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets.
The first game of the doubleheader, which was originally scheduled to be played on April 19, went to the Yellow Jackets 15-3 but Capital responded to take the second game 12-4.
Game One – Baldwin Wallace 15, Capital 3
After the Yellow Jackets went down in order to begin the game and the Crusaders did the same in the bottom of the first inning, BW opened the scoring with a three-run second frame and a two-run third.
Capital finally scored in the fifth inning thanks to a run-scoring single from Connor Richardson and then another Capital run scored in the sixth to make it only a three-run game.
Baldwin Wallace responded with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to increase its lead to six before Bryce Grisez singled in a run in the eighth to make the score 8-3.
In the ninth though the Yellow Jackets found a groove and exploded for seven runs to put the game out of reach.
Richardson finished with two hits, tying Brandon Barnette for the team high, and Grisez led Capital with two RBIs.
Game Two – Baldwin Wallace 4, Capital 12
The Crusaders got off to a much better start in the second game of the day with three first-inning runs. Drew Ellis led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and Shayne Lyons singled up the middle to give Capital runners to work with. Third baseman Joe Caporale then put a ball in play and an error by BW's catcher allowed Ellis to score. Lyons and Caporale then both scored on a single by Beau Otto.
The hot start continued for Capital and for Richardson as he doubled in a run with a shot to left in the second inning. Baldwin Wallace got on the board in the third but Capital answered the run and added to the lead when Ellis squeezed a ball through the right side of the BW infield to score two and put the Crusaders up 6-1 after three.
The Yellow Jackets pulled back a run in the fourth but then it was Capital's turn to produce a big inning with six runs in the fifth. Otto led off the frame with a single and then scampered to third after BW's pitcher attempted to pick him off but sailed the throw past BW's first baseman. After a strikeout, Ben Bethay singled Otto home for the first run of the inning. Mitchell Bodden then followed with a single of his own that gave Bethay enough time to reach third. Ellis then lined out but Lyons picked him up with a shot up the middle that scored Bethay and Bodden. Caporale worked a walk and then Richardson remained locked in at the plate with another RBI-single. Grisez followed that with a two-run single and advanced to second on an error. Otto singled and then Cole Callaghan worked a walk after a pitching change but Capital left the bases loaded. In all, Capital scored six runs on seven hits.
The hit from Lyons was his second of the game and also the 100th of his three-year career so far. Lyons is the second Crusader to record his 100th career hit after Caporale reached the milestone last week.
The Yellow Jackets scored two runs in the seventh on an RBI-triple and bases-loaded walk but the Crusaders worked out of a bases-loaded jam to limit the damage to only the two runs.
Starting pitcher Tate Virts picked up the win for Capital and allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. The first-year pitcher struck out four and walked four as well. Fellow freshman Ryan Metcalf pitched the remainder of the game and did not allow a run.
Five Crusaders recorded two RBIs and Otto led the team with four hits. Richardson went 3-for-5 and Lyons and Bodden each had a pair of base knocks.
The Crusaders are now 6-8 in conference play and 11-20 overall. Capital is currently in seventh place in the conference with four more OAC games to play. Before the Crusaders wrap up conference season thought they have one more non-conference game scheduled at Defiance College on Tuesday, April 22 at 4 p.m.