WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Capital University baseball team suffered a setback with two losses in their return to Ohio Athletic Conference play. On Sunday, the Crusaders lost twice to their rival, Otterbein University, by scored of 3-0 and 4-2. Capital is now 8-10 overall and 1-3 against conference opponents this season.
GAME 1 AT OTTERBEIN, L 3-0
A strong pitching performance by sophomore Jacob Sheaf (Cincinnati, Ohio) did not yield the desired outcome after Otterbein's Robert Kemer (W, 3-0) shut down the Capital lineup.
Sheaf (L, 2-1) went 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs, two earned, while striking out four Cardinal hitters.
All three Otterbein runs were scored within the first two innings of the game. An error in the first inning came to haunt Capital after Sean Kettering batted Taylor Hutchison around with a run-scoring single. In the very next inning, two base hits to open the frame led to a pair of Otterbein runs that came around following ground outs to the left side.
Capital's batting lineup was held to just five hits, two of which were had by sophomore Jake Foley (Pataskala, Ohio). Kemer struck out eight Crusaders and walked only one batter over the course of the game and went the distance for his third win of the season.
GAME 2 AT OTTERBEIN, L 4-2
Otterbein's four-run second inning doomed the Crusaders in game two of its doubleheader, falling 4-2.
The Cardinals plated one with some small ball following a leadoff walk. After Pat Birrer drew a walk and was pushed into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt, he then stole third and scored by beating out the throw to the plate on a batted ball.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Otterbein capitalized on an error in the field, allowing one run to score and extending the inning for a Jake Simmerman two-run single.
Otterbein received another strong pitching performance from its staff, beginning with its starter Taylor Ellis. Ellis (W, 1-0) went five innings and allowed both runs (one earned) on three hits. The bullpen duo of Adam Collier and Caleb Norton (S, 4) kept the Crusaders off of the board for the final four frames.
Senior Robert Fravel (L, 1-1) earned the loss despite allowing just one earned run in six innings of work. His five walks added to his five hits allowed gave Otterbein additional opportunities to score, but he and the defense avoided any further damage.
Junior Tyler Spears (Washington Courthouse, Ohio) gave the Crusaders two solid innings of relief, allowing just one hit in his appearance.
Capital is set to play Wittenberg University on Tuesday, March 31 in a single nine-inning game at Clowson Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. The next OAC game will also be at home when the Crusaders host Wilmington College for a doubleheader on Friday, April 3 beginning at 1 p.m.