The Oglethorpe baseball team got their 3-game series with Kalamazoo off to a decent start on Sunday, splitting a doubleheader with the visiting Hornets and improving to 10-5 on the season overall. It also meant that the Stormy Petrels have split the first four games in their stretch of five games in three days over the weekend.
The Petrels rode outstanding pitching to a 6-1 victory in Game 2 after an 8-6 seesaw affair went Kalamazoo's way in Game 1. The Petrels hit well in both games, collecting 12 hits in each, but Oglethorpe pitching issued 15 free passes (14 walks, one hit batsman) and gave up nine hits in the first game.
The Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2, but that was all they would get off of Babb. The Petrels responded with a solo home run from senior catcher Bobby Rezac in the second inning, then came back with another solo shot from senior center fielder Jarvis Miller in the third, giving Oglethorpe a 2-1 edge. They had a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the fourth, as they put two runners on with nobody out. Kalamazoo pitching was able to get out of the inning with no damage, though, maintaining the single-point deficit.
They would have no such luck in the fifth, though. Oglethorpe again put the first two hitters aboard in that inning, as senior right fielder Patrick Burnette walked and senior designated hitter Adrian Celata singled to right. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Mink came up next and cracked a 3-run homer down the left field line, giving Oglethorpe a 5-1 lead and breaking the game open.
After a new Kalamazoo pitcher checked into the game, senior second baseman Matt Motz walked and stole second, then advanced to third on a single by senior third baseman Connor Crooke. Freshman Jeffrey Hiner followed with a pinch-hit RBI single, the first hit of his collegiate career, to give the Petrels their final 6-1 cushion.
Meanwhile, junior left-hander Kyle Babb was dealing on the mound, allowing just one run on five hits through 5 2/3 innings while striking out four Hornets and walking three. He earned the victory to improve to 3-1 on the campaign. Sophomore right-hander Dylan Childress enjoyed another scoreless, hitless outing to close out the final inning-and-a-third. He's now allowed just one hit in nine scoreless innings of work on the season, walking three and striking out 13.
Kalamazoo also got off to a good start in Game 1, scoring a run in the first and two in the second to take a 3-0 lead. The Petrels responded in the third inning, though, as freshman shortstop Alex Featherstone reached on an error and Miller doubled into the right-center gap to put runners on second and third. Two batters later, Celata launched a home run to left field to score both of them and tie the game at 3-3.
The Hornets responded by scoring two runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth to take an 8-3 lead, but the Petrels got a couple back in the sixth. Mink doubled to lead off the inning and then scored on a Kalamazoo error with two outs. Freshman catcher Alec Babb then walked, and Crooke came to the plate and laced a triple to the left-center gap, scoring Babb and making it 8-5.
Oglethorpe got a run in the night to make it 8-6 and had two runners on with Celata coming to the plate. He popped up, though, and after Mink singled to load the bases, Motz flied out to end the game.
Senior right-hander Matt Davis suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 on the season. He allowed five runs over four innings of work, giving up seven hits and five walks. He also struck out five.
"The guys were once again able to bounce back after a tough first game," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "In that game, we had a chance at the end with the middle of our lineup and just didn't get the big hit. In Game 2, Babb was once again outstanding and we were able to get big hit after big hit. We'll come back and try to win the series tomorrow."
The Petrels will be back at Anderson Field in short order, as they take on the Hornets in the rubber game of the series at 11 a.m. Monday. After that, they Petrels will travel to Danville, Kentucky, for their first away SAA series of the season. They'll take on Centre in a doubleheader Saturday and a single game on Sunday.