By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Softball worked hard in game one to keep it close with one of the conference's top teams and top pitchers, but the Cardinals of Otterbein University took away two wins from Clowson Field on Saturday afternoon, 3-2 and 9-1 (final/5 innings).
GAME 1 - Capital 2, Otterbein 3
Capital's Brianna Reardon and Otterbein's Gabby Johnson engaged in a classic pitcher's duel that was settled with one swing of the bat in the seventh inning. Unfortunately for Capital, it was an Otterbein bat that made the difference.
The Crusaders and Cardinals swapped runs in the first inning of game one. Otterbein struck first using a wild pitch to advance a runner to third to set up an infield single that scored the game's opening run. Capital equalized in the home half of the first with a two-out rally of its own. The Crusaders connected with three consecutive singles to load the bases and then Cory Mangen was pegged in the leg by Johnson, forcing home the tying run.
Otterbein plucked the first of its two solo home runs in the top of the fourth when Courtney Hackney hit a shot over the center field fence to regain the lead temporarily. Cap responded in the bottom of the fifth inning when leadoff hitter Lauren Kachure singled, advanced on a wild pitch, and later came around to score when sophomore Alyx Slusher ripped an RBI single to center field, once again tying the score.
Brianna Reardon (L, 7-11) was cruising and just one out from turning it over to the Capital offense in the seventh, but Maria Herron changed the tone with one swing of the bat when she hit the eventual game-winning home run, a solo shot, to center field to give the Cardinals its final lead of the game.
Johnson then closed the door on Cap with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, including two of her six strikeouts.
GAME 2 - Capital 1, Otterbein 9 (final / 5 innings)
The Cardinals jumped all over Capital starting pitcher Chevonne Hayslett (L, 2-9) with a seven-run first inning that sent 11 hitters to the plate. The inning produced seven runs on five hits and two Capital errors. On her second trip to the plate, Maria Herron cleared the bases with a three-run double down the left field line to turn a 4-0 lead into a comfortable 7-0 advantage before the close of the first frame.
Cap reliever Kim Rega had a very productive outing by holding the Cardinals to just three hits and two runs (one earned) over four innings of work, but the damage had been done. Cap's lone run came in the second inning when Cory Mangen led the inning off with a triple to right center and then later came around to score on a bunt play with runners at first and third. While Maria Keller was being put out at third after dropping the bunt, Mangen broke for the plate and beat the throw to put Capital on the board.
However, that served as Cap's only run and with one more score in the top of the fifth inning, the Cardinals set the table for an early exit behind a 9-1 victory in five innings.
Capital (10-24, 2-10 OAC) will now ready for a mid-week OAC home matchup with Wilmington College on Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 3 p.m. from Clowson Field.