The Oglethorpe baseball team scored seven runs over the last two innings Monday night, turning a 6-4 deficit into a rain-shortened 11-6 eight-inning win. The game was delayed by lightning with Oglethorpe still batting in the eighth, and was eventually called about 20 minutes later when the storm came in earnest.
The Petrels lost an early 4-0 lead and suddenly found themselves down to the visiting Chargers, 6-4. The Chargers scored all six runs over innings 4-6. But the Petrels started their comeback with two out in the seventh. Shortstop Matt Cornwell got aboard with a two-out single, and right fielder Brendan Pilger followed with his second home run of the game and his 11th of the year, adding to his Oglethorpe single-season record and tying the game, 6-6.
The Petrels shut down Atlanta Christian in the top of the eighth and quickly got back up to bat. They proceeded to unleash a five-run onslaught. Freshman left fielder Will Hanna led off the inning with a home run right down the left-field line. It was his first career home run, and would turn out to be the game-winning hit. The Petrels would add more on top of it, though.
With one out, center fielder Jeff Pope walked and stole second. He then scored when Cornwell reached on an Atlanta Christian error. Pilger advanced Cornwell to second with a single, and Andy Farrey expanded the Oglethorpe lead to 9-6 with a pinch-hit RBI double. With runners at second and third, Pilger scored on a passed ball, making the score 10-6. Then third baseman Nick Manai came up and scored Nick DeJarnette, who pinch-ran for Farrey, with an RBI double of his own. After a walk by catcher Hunter Riley, the lightning delay occurred, and the game would eventually end at that point, with the Petrels winning, 11-6.
The Petrels jumped out to their 4-0 lead by scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. In the first, Pope started by getting hit with a pitch. Two batters later, Pilger would hammer his first home run of the night into deep left-center, giving the Petrels the 2-0 lead.
They would add two more in the second. First baseman Casey Tuttle doubled for his first career hit and was driven in with a Hanna single. Hanna scored on a Cornwell RBI single after advancing to second on a Pope bunt single, giving the Petrels the 4-0 lead.
David Langhan picked up the win in relief. He threw two shutout innings and allowed just one hit, walking no one and striking out two. Andrew Lofholm got his first career start as a pitcher, allowing five runs on six hits through four innings. He walked four and struck out two.
Pilger had another monster night at the plate for the Petrels, going 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored. Hanna had the best night at the plate of his career thus far, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, including the eventual game-winning home run. Cornwell went 3-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored; designated hitter Jeff Brothers went 2-for-4; Manai went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI; and Riley, getting his first career start at catcher, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The win improves the Petrels to 18-20 on the year, drawing them closer to their first 20-win season since 1997. They have four remaining games in which to attain that mark. The first will be Tuesday evening, when they will travel across town to take on Division I Georgia State at Panthersville. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Petrels will then compete in a three-game home-and-home series with Berry to close the season.