Baseball Drops Pair in Alabama

Related Links:
Franklin Box Score
Millsaps Box Score

The Capital University baseball team opened the 2013 season Saturday with a pair of setback at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala.

The Crusaders (0-2 overall) were knocked off against Franklin (Ind.) 7-4 before falling 13-2 in eight innings against Millsaps (Miss.) in their second contest.

In the team's season-opener against Franklin (1-0), the Crusaders held a 4-3 advantage through 6 1/2 innings before the Grizzlies rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead for good. Branisel head shot

Capital tallied once in the first, twice in the third and once in the sixth. Junior centerfielder Nate Campbell (Latrobe, Pa.) scored twice off runs batted in by junior left fielder Taylor Branisel (South Euclid, Ohio; at right). Branisel scored knocked Campbell in on a groundout in the first, then tripled home a pair with two out in the top of the third to give the Crusaders a 3-2 lead.

After Franklin tied it at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, senior first baseman Brandon Natale (Westerville, Ohio; above) put Capital back ahead by one with a solo home run, his first since he hit five as a freshman in 2010.

Making his first start coming off Tommy John surgery in the offseason, junior pitcher Justin Hoying (Fort Loramie, Ohio) surrendered two earned runs on six hits while striking out three in four innings of work. Junior left-hander Jared Lee (North Bend, Ohio) and junior righty Michael Flegal (Akron, Ohio) each tossed two innings of relief. Lee took the loss.

Against Millsaps, Capital held a 1-0 lead through three innings after Campbell scored on an error in the first. The Majors, however, erupted for six runs in the top of the fourth and didn't look back, crossing the plate four times in the top of the eighth before holding the Crusaders scoreless in the bottom half of the frame to clinch the run-rule victory.

Campbell and junior shortstop Anthony Calabrese (Hudson, Ohio) totaled two hits apiece to combine for four of Capital's six hits. Junior right fielder Andy Grillo (McArthur, Ohio) knocked in Natale with a two-out single in the fourth.

Junior right-hander Jeremy Finchum (Galloway, Ohio) started at pitcher and took his first loss of the season. Sophomore Derek Colston (Port Clinton, Ohio) and freshman Tyler Griego (Hillsboro, Ohio) each pitched scoreless outings of one or more innings in relief of Finchum.

The Crusaders conclude play in Alabama tomorrow against host Huntingdon. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. (5 p.m. EST) in Montgomery.