COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University softball team played a pair of nonconference games with Denison University of the North Coast Athletic Conference on Monday afternoon. The Big Red defeated the Purple and White by scores of 7-4 and 9-2 at Clowson Field. Capital has now lost its last five as it heads into the home stretch of the Ohio Athletic Conference season.
GAME 1 – Denison 7, Capital 4
Sophomore Brianna Reardon (Fremont, Ohio/St. Joseph Central Catholic) pitched four solid innings in her third start of the season, allowing just one run in that time. Not until the fifth inning did the Big Red offense begin to heat up when they tied the game.
Capital regained the lead with three runs in the third. Junior Bailey Walter (Ashland, Ohio/Crestview) began a one-out rally with a single through the right side and was followed by a Marissa Koss double. With runners on second and third, sophomore Kristen Mellott (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) laid down a bunt and the attempt to get Walter bearing down on the plate was unsuccessful, leaving everybody safe and a run on the board. Freshman Emily Cantley (Louisville, Ohio/Louisville) drove a double over the shortstop's head and into the left center field gap. A slow roller to the left side forced a rushed throw that sailed wide of the Denison first baseman, allowing Mellott to score from third on the throwing error.
With Capital up 3-1, Denison tied the game by taking advantage of a wild pitch and a hard hit ball to Reardon in the circle, each plating one run.
Two home runs in the top of the sixth inning put the Big Red in a good spot. Denison retook the lead with a solo homer by Lindsey Clemson. After a single and walk, nine hitter Mckinly Vazquez hit a deep fly over the left center field fence to bulk their lead to four, 7-3.
In the bottom half of the inning, senior Natalie Mabry (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) entered the home run talk when she launched a solo shot that clear the fence in dead center field. It marked the first home run of her career, and brought the Crusaders one run closer.
Capital was unable to do any damage against Denison reliever, Lauren Secaras, who pitched two scoreless innings following the Mabry home run.
Reardon took the loss after tossing 5.1 innings and allowing seven runs, six earned, on nine hits. Freshman Kayla Wild pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out one and allowing two hits.
GAME 2 – Denison 9, Capital 2
Denison put up a trio of one-run innings out of the gate against Capital starting pitcher Steph Hunter. The Big Red recorded RBI doubles in the first and third innings to help build a 3-0 lead heading to the home half of the third.
Walter cut into that lead with her fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the third. Junior Pam Vickers (Sagamore Hills, Ohio/Nordonia) led the inning off with an infield single and then finished her trip around the bases when Walter launched a shot to deep center field.
Capital found itself down 3-2 before Denison posted three runs two different times before game's end. Denison hit its third home run of the day when Sarah Herold belted a three-run homer to left field, giving Denison a 6-2 lead and prompting Hunter's exit. Wild then entered, but also surrendered three runs in the seventh after Denison rattled off five straight hits in the inning.
Secaras came in for a second time and kept surrendered just one hit over 2.2 innings of work. She combined for 4.2 innings and two hits allowed over the course of the day.
With the pair of losses Capital falls to 18-14 overall before its doubleheader with Marietta on Wednesday afternoon. Cap and the Pioneers will meet in Marietta for games at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.