By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
CLERMONT, Fla. – Capital University Softball split its pair of games on Thursday on the team's second-to-last day in Florida, beginning with a 3-1 loss to Saint Mary's University of Minnesota before scoring a season-high eight runs in an 8-3 win over the Milwaukee School of Engineering to finish the day.
GAME 1 – Saint Mary's (Minn.) 3, Capital 1
In the day's early game, the Crusaders started the game positively after retiring the Cardinals in order to start the game. Alyx Slusher drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning but then was forced out. Cory Mangen singled and stole second to put runners on second and third but Capital could not capitalize with any runs.
The Cardinals went three up, three out again in the second and Chevonne Hayslett's walk in the inning represented Capital's only action in the frame. In the third, fourth and fifth innings, Saint Mary's scored a run to take a 3-0 lead. All three runs were scored with two outs.
The Crusaders pulled a run back in the sixth after a double from Mycala Duhart gave them a runner. Kristen Mellott grounded out but moved Duhart to third and Erica Ogden smacked a single down the line in left to bring Duhart home. Hayslett followed Ogden's knock with a single of her own but Capital could not continue the rally.
Ogden finished the game 2-for-3 with one RBI and a double and Slusher went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double.
GAME 2 – Capital 8, MSOE 3
The day's second game started just as quickly for the Crusaders but this time they were able to put a run on the board.
Slusher led off the game with an out but Morgan Fadel picked her up with a single and Ogden bunted for a single that moved Fadel to second. Fadel then took third on a throwing error by MSOE's catcher. Capital's first run then scored after Mellott put the ball in play and Fadel raced home.
MSOE tied the game in the third but Capital responded with a four-run fourth. Mellott drew a free pass to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Veronica Zack. Cory Mangen then bunted Zack over to second but then Zack was called out for leaving the base early for the second out. Hayslett was hit by a pitch to give Capital a two-out baserunner, Lauren Kachure singled and Alysa Durbin walked to load the bags for the Crusaders.
Hannah Martin then stepped up to the plate and rocketed a single down the line over third base that allowed Hayslett and Kachure to score. Slusher then connected with a ball and sent it onto right field, scoring Durbin and Martin as Slusher jogged safely into second.
The Crusaders added another pair of runs in the fifth after Ogden walked to start the inning and mellot singles. After an out that allowed Ogden to scoot to third, Hayslett doubled to score her and move Mellot to third. After MSOE recorded the second out of the inning, Mycala Duhart came in to pinch hit and singled in Mellot.
Capital's final run came in the sixth, Slusher started the inning off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Barrett Littman. Fadel bunted Littman to second and and error by the catcher allowed Ogden to reach and Littman to move to third. Mellott then came up with another big hit with a single that scored Littman.
MSOE scored two seventh-inning runs but were too far behind to mount a successful comeback.
Slusher led the team with three hits in four at-bats with two RBIs and Mellot went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Martin finished the game with the two-run hit in four at-bats.
Starting pitcher Brianna Reardon picked up her second win of the season in her third complete game of the year and allowed eight hits and the three runs. She struck out three.
Capital will conclude its Spring Break trip with two final games on Friday, March 1. The Crusaders will get a rematch with Neumann University to begin the day and then play Northern Vermont University – Johnson to end the trip. First pitch against Neumann is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. and the game against Johnson is scheduled for a noon start.