By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Baseball welcomed John Carroll University to Clowson Field on Saturday in both teams' Ohio Athletic Conference openers but unfortunately for the Crusaders, they will have to wait a while longer for their first conference win. John Carroll took the first game of the day 11-1 and won the second game 5-4.
Game 1 – John Carroll 11, Capital 1
The first game of the day started slowly as neither team managed a hit in the first inning. In the top of the second with two outs, a double put a runner on for the Blue Streaks and then Patrick Keohane singled him home to take the lead.
Neither team scored again until the fifth inning when John Carroll struck for three runs, two of which came on a double from Dominic Mittiga. Mittiga then scored from third when he was awarded home plate thanks to defensive interference.
In the sixth inning, Joe Caporale led off the frame with a single and Shayne Lyons followed that with a one-base hit of his own that moved Caporale to third. Connor Richardson then hit a sacrifice fly that scored Caporale for Capital's only run of the game.
Four runs in the seventh and three more in the ninth for John Carroll sealed the win for the Blue Streaks.
Konnor Black dinished the game 4-for-4 at the plate for Capital and Lyons went 3-for-3. However, the rest of the team went 1-for-24 with Caporale getting the other hit.
Game 2 – John Carroll 5, Capital 4
The day's second game got off to a faster start but again it was John Carroll striking first. A lead-off single started things for the Blue Streaks and another single from Mittiga followed. Mittiga then stole second to give JCU runners at second and third and a sacrifice fly scored the game's first run. Capital starter Alex Mukensturm was able to limit the damage though and ended the frame with a strikeout, his second of the inning.
The Crusaders tied the game in the bottom of the second inning as Richardson led off the frame with a single and a double from Black moved Richardson to third. Catcher Ben Bethay got a hold of a ball with a shot to center that was caught but allowed Richardson to come home.
A pair of runs in the third and fifth innings for John Carroll put the visitors ahead 5-1 but a wild pitch with two runners on in the seventh allowed the Crusaders to score another run and start to creep back into things.
Capital's bullpen crucially held JCU scoreless over the last 4 1/3 innings and in the bottom of the ninth the Crusaders made things interesting.
Bryce Grisez singled up the middle to get things going and then Kyle Karchefsky was hit by a pitch to give the Crusaders a runner in scoring position. A single from Drew Ellis loaded the bases and then Caporale singled himself as Grisez came home. With the bases still juiced, another wild pitch moved everyone up a base and Capital trailed by only a run. A walk to Lyons again gave Capital three baserunners but a pop up and strikeout ended Capital's comeback attempt.
Richardson and Ellis each went 2-for-5 and five other Crusaders recorded one hit.
Mukensturm struck out eight over 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs. Tate Virts came in and gave up only one hit in 2 1/3 innings. Ryan Metcalf and Drew Ellis then each pitched an inning of hitless ball.
The Crusaders will face a quick turnaround as they will head to Kenyon College for a nonconference game on Sunday, March 24. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.