By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Softball braved the cold weather on Saturday afternoon and were rewarded with a pair of victories against John Carroll University. Bailey Walter and Pam Vickers came up with some clutch hitting late in a pair of low-scoring games to help the Crusaders capture two key wins to begin Ohio Athletic Conference play.
GAME 1 - John Carroll 0, Capital 1
Capital's Brianna Reardon and John Carroll's Jenn Patterson were locked up in a pitcher's duel through five innings of play, though both teams were with opportunity to score prior to the game's only run being plated.
Capital's defense was on display in the third inning when they cut down a run at the plate with an unconventional inning-ending double play. With a runner at third, Reardon fielder her position in the circle and got Olivia Schweiger out at first. Cory Mangen displayed some heads up play by firing a strike to Kristen Mellott at third and the tag on Caitlin Fitzsimmons was in time as she attempted to dive back into third base. John Carroll had just one more runner get into scoring position for the rest of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, senior Bailey Walter (Ashland, Ohio/Crestview) showed her might and broke the scoreless drought when she supplanted her first home run of the season. With one out, Walter blasted a 2-1 pitch deep and over the center field fence to give Cap a 1-0 lead. It was all that would be needed to clinch the victory with the impressive play by the Cap defense and pitcher Brianna Reardon (Fremont, Ohio/St. Joseph Central Catholic).
Reardon (W, 3-9) forced three fly outs to right field in the seventh to break Cap's losing streak and earn her third win of the season, and first of the day.
GAME 2 - John Carroll 1, Capital 2 (F/9)
Chevonne Hayslett (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg) took to the circle in game two of Saturday's doubleheader and started to toss fire despite the dipping temperatures. Hayslett went 4.1 innings without surrendering a hit to the Blue Streaks and kept JCU off of the board through six innings of work.
Hayslett's lone blemish came in the top of the seventh inning when with a one-run lead she allowed a leadoff home run to Hannah Mizener to tie the game and induce extra innings.
Senior Pam Vickers (Sagamore Hills, Ohio/Nordonia) served as the heroine for Cap in game two, accounting for both of the team's runs. Cap took an early in the second inning when Vickers tallied an RBI single to score run number one. Haleigh Luce led the inning off with a single to left and came around to core when Vickers ripped a single through the right side of the infield.
Since seven innings failed to decide a winner, both teams bundled up for extras. After the game-tying home run by JCU, Reardon entered the game in relief and escaped jams in the seventh and ninth innings to give Cap a chance at victory.
Freshman Erica Ogden led off the bottom of the ninth with a bunt single and then was moved over to second via a sacrifice. Ogden then moved to third on a groundout setting the table for heroics by Vickers. With two outs Vickers got just enough of a pitch from Jessica Cook to bloop a single into center field, scoring Ogden and winning the game in walk-off fashion.
Vickers finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs. Mangen and Ogden both joined her with two hits for the Crusaders.
Crusaders pitching limited John Carroll to just four hits over the course of the game. Reardon (W, 4-9) earned the win with 2.2 innings of relief, while Hayslett earned the no-decision after allowing just one run and three hits over 6.1 innings of work.
Bailey Walter had four hits over the course of the afternoon, three of which came in game one. She finished 4-for-7 on the day.
Capital will now ready for a doubleheader versus Bethany College at home, beginning at 3 p.m.