March 25, 2012

Petrels Score Comeback Win Over Millsaps, Salvage Game from Series

The Oglethorpe baseball team fell behind Millsaps again Sunday, 4-0, in the third and final game of an SCAC series. But the Petrels scored seven runs in a three-inning span, turning the tables on the visiting Majors and salvaging a game from the series, 7-6.

The Petrels fell behind Millsaps early, allowing a run in the second inning, two in the third, and one more in the fourth for a 4-0 deficit. Meanwhile, Oglethorpe had leadoff men reach base in two of those innings, only for the next batter to ground into a double play.

It all changed around in the fifth, though. First baseman Casey Tuttle led off with a walk and second baseman Jake Spear followed with a single. When shortstop TJ Schmutz sacrificed the runners to second and third, but reached first on a Millsaps error, the Petrels suddenly had the bases loaded, nobody out and a chance to fight their way back into the game.

Center fielder Vernon Trice followed with an RBI single, cutting the deficit to three runs. Third baseman Ryan Grau then drove in a run with a groundout and the score was 4-2. Right fielder Cory Leff walked, reloading the bases. Then with two out, back-to-back run-scoring walks by designated hitter Jeff Brothers and left fielder Nick Manai drove in two unearned runs, tying the game.

Millsaps jumped right back ahead with a single run in the sixth, but the Petrels maintained their momentum. Spear and Schmutz both reached base to lead off the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Grau singled through the right side of the infiled and an error by the Millsaps right fielder allowed the tying run to score and moved Schmutz around to third as the go-ahead run. Oglethorpe took the lead for good on the next batter, when Leff drove in Schmutz with a fielder's choice. The Petrels would end the inning ahead, 6-5.

They added an additional run in the seventh. Back-to-back singles from Brothers and Manai put runners at the corners with nobody out. Tuttle followed with a sacrifice fly, giving Oglethorpe a 7-5 lead.

From that point, the Petrels desperately worked to hold onto the lead. They gave up a run in the eighth to cut the lead to one. But John Gibbs blew through the Majors in the ninth for his first save of the season, and the Petrels had their first SCAC win of the season. Gibbs went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and no runs.

Emmett Goodman picked up the win for Oglethorpe. He struggled in the early going, but stuck with it and allowed his team the chance to come back and reward him with the victory. He allowed four earned runs and 11 hits in six innings, walking and striking out two.

Brothers finished 2-for-3 with an RBI walk, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored. Schmutz wound up 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base and two runs scored.

The win improves the Petrels to 7-14 on the season, 1-2 in SCAC play. They will next be in action Wednesday night, when they will host former SCAC foe DePauw at Anderson Field, beginning at 7 p.m.

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