By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Marietta College Pioneers invaded Clowson Field on Saturday afternoon for an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader with Capital University Baseball on Saturday afternoon as the two teams split the twin bill. The Crusaders won the first game 9-5 before falling 8-2 in the second game.
Game One – Marietta 5, Capital 9
Neither team was able to get anything going in the first inning as senior pitcher Alex Mukensturm (Tecumshe, Mich./Tecumshe) struck out two Pioneers for the Crusaders and then Capital went down 1-2-3 to start the game.
In the second, Jared Weiss hit a two-run single to left to put the Pioneers up 2-0. Marietta took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly.
The Crusaders responded in a big way though in the bottom of the inning as Shayne Lyons (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) singled up the middle to lead off the frame. Joe Caporale (Highland Heights, Ohio/Mayfield) then followed Lyons with a single of his own and a double to the gap between left and center by Connor Richardson (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg – Summit) scored Lyons. Capital's next batter, Drew Ellis (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa), then rocketed a single through the left side of the infield that scored Caporale. After a line out that also resulted in Ellis being picked off, Beau Otto (Cincinnati, Ohio/Roger Bacon) tied the game at three with a base knock up the middle. Otto then stole second and scored on a single by Cole Callaghan (Westerville, Ohio/Olentangy Orange). Bryce Grisez (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) completed the fourth-inning scoring with a triple to the wall in right that scored Callaghan and Capital led 5-3.
Marietta made it a one-run game in the seventh but again Capital responded with a big inning. The Crusaders started their half of the seventh with back-to-back bunt singles by Callaghan and Grisez and then Konnor Black (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) reached on a fielder's choice that resulted in Callaghan being out at third. Lyons followed that with a single up the middle that loaded the bases and Caporale smashed a double that scored two. Richardson followed suit with a double of his own that brought Caporale and Lyons home and Capital took a 9-4 lead.
Things got a little hairy for the Crusaders in the ninth as the first two Pioneers reached base and then a single plated a run. A walk then loaded the bases for Marietta and the tying run came to the plate. At that point Ellis assumed his duty as the team's closer and ended the game with two fly outs for his fourth save of the season.
Mukensturm pitched six innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts before Tate Virts (Marysville, Ohio/Marysville Early College) came in and struck out four in 2.1 innings.
Richardson's three RBIs led the team and he joined Caporale and Lyons in going 2-for-4. Grisez went 3-for-4 and Callaghan went 2-for-3.
Game Two – Marietta 8, Capital 2
The Pioneers began the day's second game hot with two runs in the first off of Capital starter Scott Gutstein (Cooper City, Fla./NSU University School) with a pair of one-run singles but then neither team could generate any offense until the sixth.
Marietta went down in order in the second, third and fifth innings and Capital went 1-2-3 in the fourth and fifth.
In the sixth though, the Pioneers broke through for four runs on a two-run double, one-run single and a run-scoring double play. Marietta again went down 1-2-3 in the seventh but added runs in both the eighth and ninth innings to go up 8-0.
Capital embarked on a rally in the bottom of the ninth as a double down the line in left from Callaghan scored Otto who reached on a single and then Grisez singled in Callaghan but that was all the damage Capital could do.
Gutstein pitched eight innings while allowing seven runs, six earned, and striking out two. Bryant Caporale (Highland Heights, Ohio/Mayfield) gave up Marietta's run in the ninth. Gino Sabatine pitched 6.1 innings of shutout baseball for the Pioneers and Sam Mathews finished the game.
At the plate, Lyons went 3-for-5 and both Otto and Callaghan went 2-for-4.
The Crusaders will complete a home-and-home series with Hiram College tomorrow, Sunday, April 7 at Hiram before hosting Muskingum University on Tuesday. First pitch against the Terriers is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.