SALISBURY, Md. – The Capital University softball team's trip to Maryland started on rocky footing after dropping two games on Friday afternoon, both by scores of 3-1. The Crusaders first fell to Rutgers University-Camden before rounding out the day with a loss to Lynchburg College at the Salisbury Tournament.
GAME 1 vs. Rutgers-Camden | L, 3-1
Two Scarlet Raptors runs in the bottom of the first inning were all that was needed to end Capital's seven-game winning streak.
Capital (7-2) had a chance to take a lead in their first at-bat but stranded Kelsey Swain at third base. Rutgers-Camden (1-1) responded in the bottom half with three straight singles against Capital pitcher Brooke Billings (L, 2-1). Brittany Scott singled in one run and then while the Crusaders turned its third double play of the season the Raptors added a second run.
The Crusaders cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth inning when Ashley Knowles and Billings walked to lead off the frame. Swain loaded the bases with a single through the left side, setting the table for Natalie Mabry (Grove City, Ohio). The sophomore then singled to left field, making the score 2-1. They were unable to plate another, leaving runners stranded at second and third.
After the Raptors added another run in the bottom of the sixth, Capital had the tying run at the plate with two outs. Rutgers-Camden pitcher Brittany Scott induced LeAnna Cotton (Okeechobee, Fla.) to pop out in foul territory, ending the game.
Billings tossed six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.
Scott held the Crusaders' offense was held to just five hits while striking out five. Swain led the team with two of those hits, both singles. Cotton, Knowles and Brooklyn Staten recorded one hit, each.
GAME 2 vs. Lynchburg | L, 3-1
A two-run third inning pushed the Hornets over top of the Crusaders, serving Capital its second loss by a 3-1 score in Thursday's nightcap.
Lynchburg (9-3) took a one-run lead in the first inning when Jessi Hall dropped an infield single and then stole second base. The very next batter, Kayla St. John, pushed a single through the right side which was just enough to score Hall.
Two innings later, Hall again led the inning off by getting on base and with a little small ball, was put in scoring position for a second time. Danielle Powell came up with a big two-out, RBI double to extend the Hornets lead. Capital pitcher Alyssa Patznick (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood) temporarily saw her control wane, walking the next batter and then loading the bases by hitting another. After getting ahead in the count against Skylar Seals, she eventually fell victim to a bases-loaded walk to surrender a second run and allow Lynchburg to build a 3-0 lead.
Capital scored once in the bottom of the third when Cotton drove home Swain with a run-scoring single. The Crusaders were unable to get their offense going in the latter innings. They were retired, in order, in their final three trips to the plate by relief pitcher Conner English.
Cotton went 2-for-3 in the game with one RBI. Swain and Julia Jennings accounted for each of the Crusaders' additional hits.
Patznick (L, 3-1) tossed four innings and allowed three runs on three hits and six walks. Sophomore Amber Martinelli (Allison Park, Pa.) threw three scoreless inning and surrendered just two hits while striking out three.
Capital will back on the diamonds Saturday, weather permitting, to play Ursinus College and host Salisbury University. Salisbury is currently ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Play will begin with Ursinus at 10 a.m. and follow shortly after with Salisbury.