Baseball Takes Rubber Game over MIT in 10-9 Slugfest

Baseball Takes Rubber Game over MIT in 10-9 Slugfest

The Oglethorpe baseball team took the rubber game of a 3-game series from the MIT Engineers Sunday at Anderson Field, knocking 17 hits in a back-and-forth 10-9 victory that featured numerous ties and lead changes. The result improved the Stormy Petrels to 8-10 on the season overall.

The Petrels came back to either tie or take the lead on three separate occasions over the course of the game, turning around deficits of 4-2, 6-4 and 7-6 to eventually take a 9-7 lead in the sixth inning. MIT came back from that, though, to tie the game at 9-9 in the eighth. However, the Petrels responded in the bottom half of the inning, and junior catcher Bobby Rezac delivered what turned out to be the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly, making the score 10-9. Freshman left-hander Preston Vegotsky set down the Engineers in the ninth, erasing a 1-out single with a game-ending double play grounder. 

Vegotsky picked up his first career win, improving to 1-2 on the season. He suffered a blown save in the eighth inning when he allowed the tying run to score, but he recovered nicely to get out of that inning and set MIT down in the ninth. He wound up allowing just the single run on 2 hits over 2 innings of work, walking a batter and striking out a batter. 

Sophomore left-hander Kyle Babb got the start and pitched in some poor luck, as only 3 of the 7 runs he allowed were earned. He gave up 7 hits over 5 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out four. 

MIT put a run on the board in the first, but the Petrels immediately bounced back, showing a taste of things to come. Junior center fielder Jarvis Miller was hit by a pitch to lead off, then senior right fielder Brandon Fish tripled him home on a ball to the gap in left-center. Junior designated hitter Adrian Celata followed with a sacrifice fly to the deepest part of the ballpark, scoring Fish and giving Oglethorpe a 2-1 lead.

The Engineers responded with 3 unearned runs in the top of the third, taking a 4-2 lead, but the Petrels bounced back with a run in both the third and fourth innings. The first two hitters reached base in the third, then advanced into scoring position on a pickoff error by MIT. That error turned out be a big factor in the inning, as junior second baseman Matt Motz drove in a run with an infield single. In the fourth, junior left fielder Corey Hamm was hit with a pitch with one out, then junior third baseman Connor Crooke singled with two outs to put runners at first and second. Fish followed with an RBI single, tying it 4-4.

MIT answered with two more in the fifth, but the Petrels came right back. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Mink and Motz led off the inning with back-to-back singles, then when the two advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, Rezac came through with a game-tying 2-run single up the middle.

The Engineers added another tally in the sixth, but Oglethorpe responded with a 3-run rally of their own. Crooke began the inning with a single and stole second. Two batters later, Celata doubled down the line to tie the game 7-7. Mink singled Celata home to give the Petrels the lead, then Rezac came back to the plate and extended the Oglethorpe lead with a double of his own.

MIT pecked away at the 2-run Oglethorpe advantage, though, and tied the game at 9-9 in the top of the eighth. However, the home side came back with the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning. Celata doubled down the line to start the frame, then Mink singled through the left side to advance Celata to third. Mink was thrown out trying to steal second, but Motz walked and Rezac came through with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Petrels the lead for good.

Rezac enjoyed perhaps his best game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and 4 RBIs, including the go-ahead one in the eighth.  Celata, Fish and Mink all had outstanding games, as well. Celata went 2-for-3 with 2 doubles, a sacrifice fly, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored; Fish went 3-for-5 with a triple, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored; and Mink wound up 4-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.

"I'm proud of the effort from our guys all weekend," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Our offense was relentless today. We had some really big at-bats and that was the difference in the game. Rezac had a couple of clutch hits and the sac fly, and Fish and Celata came through for us, as well."

The Petrels will now embark on a 4-game road trip, as they head up Lookout Mountain to take on Covenant Tuesday at 3 p.m., then continue up to Tennessee for a 3-game SAA series with Sewanee over the weekend. Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern, while Sunday will feature a single game at 1 p.m.