COLUMBUS, Ohio – Once Alyssa Patznick entered the circle, the Denison University offense entered a standstill and the Crusader offense took flight. Capital University Softball run-ruled the Big Red in game one of Thursday's doubleheader and nearly completed a comeback in game two, but despite an exciting late charge the series ended in a split.
GAME 1 – Denison 3, Capital 13 (Final – 5 innings)
Capital's early rush of offense set the tone for a five-inning affair, resulting in a 13-3 victory over the Big Red.
Senior Kelsey Swain (Pickerington, Ohio/North) led the game off with a triple to the right-center field gap, prefacing what was yet to come. The very next batter, junior Brooklyn Staten (Grove City, Ohio) doubled her home and later scored when Patznick did the same. It was the first of three run-scoring base hits from the bottom of the Capital lineup, resulting in a five-run opening inning.
After Denison plated three runs with one swing of the bat by Marlie Mounts, the Crusaders responded with four more runs in their next at bat. Maura Rose put across the first run with an RBI double, and Patznick tacked on three more by blasting her fourth home run of the year on a 3-0 count with two down.
Patznick (W, 9-3) did it both at the plate and in the circle, earning her ninth win of the season. The only blemish on her line was the Mounts home run. She finished with four strikeouts and just three hits allowed over five innings of work.
Five different Capital players recorded two or more hits, led by Swain's three. They totaled 14 base knocks to tally their 13 runs, while also being aided by five Denison errors.
GAME 2 – Denison 12, Capital 11
From the start, both sides made it clear that game two was going to be offensively driven and neither side disappointed. Denison nicked up Capital starter Brooke Billings for four runs in the first inning, but the Crusaders were quick to respond.
Capital equaled their opponents in the home half of the inning with large help to Rose's tenth dinger of the year. Following LeAnna Cotton's run-scoring single, Rose hit a no-doubt home run over the left-field fence, a three-run shot, to tie the game.
As thrilling as the opening frame was for Capital, Denison retook the momentum with four runs in each of the next two innings. Billings surrendered five hits and all four runs before being removed from the game after Anna Balch's liner range off of her knee to prompt an early exit. She would later return to the game as a hitter.
Sophomore Amber Martinelli entered the game, but did not fare well either. After getting out of the second inning, troubles arose again in the third as the Denison offense batted around the order for the third time, posting four more runs. Patzick returned to the circle and after allowing the first two runners aboard, recorded the last two outs. She allowed zero runs from that point on.
Down seven runs, Capital neared an early extinction in the fifth inning but the offense roared one last time. Beginning with Rose in the fourth spot of the order, Capital hitters rattled off five consecutive singles. Patznick again helped her own cause with a two-run single to right field. After a pitching change for the Big Red, junior Ashley Knowles (Canton, Ohio) drove home another run with a run-scoring single to right. With two outs and two on, Staten drove a single up the middle to make for a one-run game, 12-11.
Denison clung to its lead but had it threatened once more. In the sixth, Therese Becker reached on an error and Patnick walked to put two runners on. A passed ball put both runners in scoring position for Knowles. Relief pitcher Lauren Secaras battled with Knowles, but after two foul balls struck her out to end the inning. It was just Knowles' fourth strikeout of the year.
Capital went 1-2-3 in the seventh inning, leading to the split.
For the second time in the day, Swain led the Crusaders' offense with three hits. She finished the day going 6-for-8, scored twice and recorded one RBI.
Rose finished with five hits, including her league-leading 10th home run and five RBIs.
Patznick also had a day at the plate, finished 3-for-6 and six RBIs. Four of those RBIs came in game one.
Capital (26-11) will now prepare for its regular season finale and Senior Day this Saturday, April 25. They will host the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears at Clowson Field. Tournament seeding and host site rights are on the line this weekend as Capital sits one game behind Heidelberg University in the OAC standings. The Crusaders need to sweep ONU and receive help from Otterbein to win or share the regular season championship and have the possibility of hosting the conference tournament.