The Oglethorpe baseball team split a doubleheader Saturday in Danville, Kentucky, against the host Centre Colonels in a pair of wild games. The Stormy Petrels won the first game 12-11 before falling 4-3 in eight innings (the game was scheduled for seven) in Game 2. Both games saw multiple lead changes, huge momentum swings, and a victory attained in the winning team's final at-bat. The Petrels now sit at 12-6 on the season overall with a 3-2 mark in SAA play.
Centre jumped out to an early 3-0 edge in the first inning of Game 1, but the Petrels were able to quickly respond with a huge second inning. Oglethorpe got their first five hitters aboard over the course of the frame, and scored on a wild pitch and an RBI infield single by senior first baseman Dee Kelly to make it 3-2. Freshman shortstop Alex Featherstone followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, then senior right fielder Patrick Burnette came through with a 2-run triple, giving Oglethorpe a 5-3 advantage. Senior second baseman Matt Motz singled Burnette home a couple batters later, and Oglethorpe had a 6-3 lead.
Centre got a run back in the third, but Oglethorpe canceled it out in the fourth on an RBI double from senior third baseman Connor Crooke, making it 7-4. Single runs in the fourth and fifth innings from Centre got them back into it at 7-6, and though the Petrels got a run back on an RBI single from freshman catcher Alec Babb in the sixth, the Colonels answered back with a pair in the bottom half of the inning to tie it at 8-8.
Oglethorpe shot right back into the lead in the seventh inning, as they got consecutive run-scoring singles from senior designated hitter Adrian Celata and Motz to retake the lead, 10-8. However, Centre immediately responded, scoring a couple runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score again, 10-10, going into the ninth inning. Burnette walked with one out and Celata singled, putting a couple runners on. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, then Motz came through again with a huge 2-run single, giving the Petrels a 12-10 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Centre put their first three hitters aboard, loading the bases with nobody out on Oglethorpe closer Jack Bartlewski. The Petrels cut down a pair of runners at the plate on force outs, but the potential tying run advanced to third on an error which scored a Centre run on the latter force out. The next batter hit a looping fly ball that looked like it would fall in to tie the game, but senior center fielder Jarvis Miller made a spectacular diving catch to preserve the 12-11 victory.
Both Motz and Burnette had outstanding games. Motz went 5-for-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored, while Burnette went 4-for-5 with a triple, a walk, two RBIs and four runs scored.
Game 2 provided more excitement, though of a different kind, as neither team was able to dent the scoreboard until late. Oglethorpe left-handed starter Kyle Babb went six innings and allowed just two runs on three hits. He would wind up with a no decision, though.
Centre took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but the Petrels came back in the sixth. Burnette homered to lead off the frame, then the Petrels put three consecutive baserunners aboard. Crooke followed with a game-tying RBI groundout. The Petrels grabbed a 3-2 lead in the seventh and final scheduled inning on an RBI single from Celata, giving themselves a chance to sweep the doubleheader. However, the Colonels tied the game in the bottom half to send the game to extra innings, then picked up the game-winning run in the eighth to secure the split.
"Today was an extremely crazy day," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Obviously, we would've liked to have gotten both games, but we were glad to get Game 1, and we've got a chance to take the series tomorrow, which is always our goal."
The Petrels will take on the Colonels from Danville Sunday at 1 p.m. in the rubber game of the 3-game set. After that, they'll host in-state opponent Piedmont on Wednesday night before heading back on the road to Memphis, Tennessee, to face Rhodes next weekend.