By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
CLERMONT, Fla. – On the team's final day in Florida, Capital University Softball finished the eight-game Spring Break slate with a split against Johnson & Wales University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Game 1 – Capital 1, Johnson & Wales 0
The day began with an old-fashioned pitchers' duel, with the Crusaders and Johnson & Wales combining for only one run and eight hits. The Crusaders were able to scratch out the lone run of the game in the top of the first inning and the team's pitching and defense made sure that that was enough for a 1-0 win.
Senior Bailey Walter led off the game with a single to right field and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alyx Slusher. Cory Mangen was hit by a pitch as Capital's next batter, brining senior Haleigh Luce to the plate. Luce roped a single to left, bringing Walter home. The inning ended with back-to-back groundouts.
After six scoreless innings, the Wildcats challenged in the bottom of the seventh with two hits but could not get anyone across home. Johnson & Wales' pitcher, Jennifer Corona, led the inning off with a single to right and pinch runner Sheyann Goodwin advanced to second on a groundout. Tiffany Semanchik singled to put runners on first and second with one out. The next Wildcat batter flew out to right and Capital pitcher Brianna Reardon struck Shari Minalga out swinging to end the game.
Reardon pitched all seven innings for Capital and began her dominate outing in the bottom of the first. Reardon struck out the first Johnson & Wales batter and issued a walk but allowed no hits in the frame. The junior got 1-2-3 innings in the third and sixth innings and only faced four batters in the fourth and fifth. Reardon struck out four and improved to 2-5 with the win.
Corona pitched all seven innings for the Wildcats, striking out two while allowing four hits and the one run.
Walter went 2-for-3 at the plate for Cap, Luce was 1-for-3 and Mangen recorded the fourth Crusader hit.
Game 2 – MSOE 7, Capital 0
Reardon got the nod again in the second contest of the day and for five innings limited MSOE to only one run before the Raiders were able to tally three runs in each the sixth and seventh innings in a 7-0 Capital defeat.
Rachel Ziemba led off the game with a triple and came around to score two batters later. The Crusaders went down in order in each of the first three innings and only four came to the plate in the fourth.
In the sixth, MSOE started the inning with two singles and the runners advanced into scoring position on a groundout to the pitcher. The next batter, Amanda Manssen, reached on an error that allowed two runs to score. A triple scored the third run.
The next inning, another error allowed a run to score and three batters later a two-run double from Emily Snow gave MSOE its seventh run.
The Crusaders will head home from Florida with a 2-6 record and will have a 12-day layoff before playing two against Thomas More College on Wednesday, March 14 at 3 and 5 p.m.