The Capital University baseball team started its five-game Florida swing with its first victory of the season Tuesday, downing Rose-Hulman (Ind.) 9-7 in 10 innings in a non-conference affair in Winter Haven, Fla.
Trailing 7-5 through seven innings, the Crusaders (1-3 overall) tallied once each in the eighth and ninth innings, tying the game in the top of the ninth when senior first baseman Brandon Natale (Westerville, Ohio) scored on a wild pitch. Natale had reached on a single earlier in the frame and scored with Capital down to its last out.
After junior pitcher Michael Flegal (Akron, Ohio) quickly wrapped up a 1-2-3 bottom half of the ninth, junior shortstop Brian Wyer (New Albany, Ohio; above) doubled to lead off the 10th and eventually scored with two outs on an error by the Engineers (1-2).
Junior centerfielder Nate Campbell (Latrobe, Pa.), who reached on the Rose-Hulman miscue, crossed the plate to give the Crusaders a two-run lead on a single by freshman Kirby Boehm (Worthington, Ohio), who was pinch-hitting for Natale.
The Engineers reached on an error to start their half of the 10th, but junior Sam Sifferlin (Wooster, Ohio) shook it off and struck out the side to secure his first save of the season.
Flegal moved to 1-1 with the victory, capping a four-inning outing in relief. Junior left-hander Kevin Brennan (Mason, Ohio) started the game and pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out five.
Junior left fielder Taylor Branisel (South Euclid, Ohio) and sophomore catcher Matt Carnahan (Moundsville, W.Va.) totaled three hits apiece to lead Capital. Branisel socked a solo home run, his first of the season, in the top of the first and knocked in three runs to bring his team-leading total to six RBIs for the year.
Wyer and senior designated hitter Dean Langholz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) each finished with two hits. Wyer scored two runs, while Langholz knocked in a runner with a single in the fifth.
The two teams combined for 29 hits and 18 men left on base for the contest.
The Crusaders resume play tomorrow against Lyndon (Vt.) State. The opening pitch is scheduled for noon in Winter Haven.