ANGOLA, Ind. – The Capital University softball team came back from two different deficits Friday but eventually fell 5-3 against Allegheny (Pa.) on the second day of the NCAA Regional Tournament at Trine University.
The second-seeded Crusaders (35-11 overall) continue play in the double-elimination format tournament tomorrow at noon against Trine, the regional host, No. 1 seed and the nation's second-ranked team.
The No. 6 Gators (23-18) advance in the winners' portion of the bracket and will face Aurora (Ill.) tomorrow at 2 p.m. The winner of the Trine-Capital game takes on the winner of the Thomas More-Anderson affair at 4 p.m.
Sophomore pitcher Brooke Billings (Clyde, Ohio) took the loss in relief for Capital to drop to 17-5 for the year. She pitched three innings in relief of starter Alyssa Patznick (Newark, Ohio), who later re-entered on the mound with two outs in the sixth.
Six different Crusaders registered hits to lead the offense.
A pair of great defensive plays helped Patznick get out of a two-on, no-out jam in the bottom of the first. Freshman third baseman Katlyn Simpson (Loudonville, Ohio) took a ground ball, stepped on third and threw to second to complete a 5-4 double play for the first two outs. Sophomore catcher Maura Rose (Williamsport, Pa.) then tossed down to second to catch an Allegheny runner trying to steal, ending the frame.
Simpson turned another double play in the second inning to thwart another Gator rally, this time stepping on third and throwing over to senior first baseman Lexi Majoy (Huron, Ohio), who made a great scoop on a low throw to complete the play. Patznick induced another ground ball to end the frame.
After an Allegheny run in the bottom of the third, Capital responded with a pair in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Majoy doubled down the left field line and was run for by freshman Katie Hurst (Macedonia, Ohio). Following a walk by freshman pinch hitter Lacey Romero (Mechanicsburg, Ohio), Nist whistled a ball through the right side that went under the glove of the Gators' right fielder, sending both Hurst and Staten, who re-entered to run, to home plate.
After Nicole Rodi put Allegheny back ahead 3-2 in the bottom half, the Crusaders tied the score at 3-3 with another two-out rally. Sophomore left fielder LeAnna Cotton (Okeechobee, Fla.) sent a double into deep left center to score sophomore centerfielder Kelsey Swain (Pickerington, Ohio), who hit an infield single to short with two outs and nobody on.
The Gators took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth on Halea Hayden's two-run homer.
Capital is now 7-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.