The Oglethorpe baseball team bounced back from a 6-0 early deficit Tuesday evening to overtake the homestanding Piedmont Lions 9-8 at Loudermilk Field in Demorest. The Stormy Petrels used a 5-run fourth inning to facilitate the comeback, then came back again from an 8-7 deficit with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The victory improved the Petrels to 6-2 headed into their first SAA series of the season this weekend.
After falling behind 6-0, Oglethorpe responded with seven consecutive runs and took a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Piedmont came back with a couple runs of their own, retaking the lead 8-7. The Petrels rallied again, though.
Sophomore first baseman Andrew Mink led off the seventh inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sacrifice from senior second baseman Matt Motz. After a strikeout, Mink was still at second with two out, but senior third baseman Connor Crooke came through with an RBI single to score Mink and tie the game 8-8. In the eighth inning, sophomore shortstop Alex Featherstone singled to lead off the inning, and senior center fielder Jarvis Miller followed up with a single that advanced Featherstone to third with nobody out. Senior left fielder Bobby Rezac came up next and grounded into a double play, but Featherstone came across on the play as the go-ahead run.
Sophomore right-hander Dylan Childress got through the bottom of the eighth allowing only a 2-out walk, and sophomore right-hander Jack Bartlewski came in to close out the Lions in the ninth. Two Lions reached base with two outs in the ninth, putting the potential tying run in scoring position, but Bartlewski induced a flyout to left fielder Sam Buchanan to end the game.
With the visitors behind 6-0, the first five hitters, and seven of the first eight, who came to the plate in the Petrel half of the fourth reached base. Oglethorpe got a run-scoring double from Mink in the inning, as well as RBI singles from freshman catcher Alec Babb and senior right fielder Britton Araujo. Crooke also drove in a run with a groundout. By the end of the frame, the Piedmont edge was just 6-5.
Senior designated hitter Adrian Celata immediately tied the game with a home run to lead off the fifth. The Petrels took their first lead of the game later in the inning, when Babb singled and stole second, then was driven home by a Crooke double.
Childress collected his first career win, throwing two innings of hitless, scoreless baseball while walking two and striking out three. Bartlewski picked up his second save of the season, allowing two hits in the ninth but getting out of the jam.
Crooke went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs, while Babb went 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI and two runs scored.
"This was a really good win for our guys and was a good, exciting baseball game," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Battling back from 6-0 down showed a lot of resolve. I can't say enough about our bullpen tonight. They made some key pitches when they had to."
The Petrels will take on another in-state opponent over the weekend, as they welcome Berry to Anderson Field for the SAA opening series for both teams. The series is scheduled for a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 2 p.m., and a single game Sunday at the same time.