The Oglethorpe baseball team earned a shutout victory over the visiting Kalamazoo Hornets on Monday, scoring four runs over their final two innings at the plate to pull away and secure the 7-0 win. The victory meant that the Stormy Petrels took 2-of-3 from Kalamazoo and 3-of-5 from the long weekend, improving to 11-5 on the season.
The Petrels got an excellent pitching performance throughout, as freshman right-handers Alex Smith, Kyle Rutledge and Christopher Keane combined with sophomore right-hander Jack Bartlewski to blank the Hornets offense on just four hits. Smith pitched the first four innings and allowed just one hit while walking two and striking out two. Rutledge got the win, the first of his collegiate career, and allowed just one hit and one walk through two innings. Keane followed with a 2-inning, 2-strikeout performance, allowing just two hits in the process. Bartlewski finished it off in the ninth, striking out a batter while not allowing a baserunner.
Meanwhile, the Oglethorpe offense was slow to get untracked, collecting just four hits of their own over the opening six innings of play. They were able to push single runs across in the first and fourth innings, though, taking a 2-0 lead. Senior second baseman Matt Motz drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly after the Petrels loaded the bases with a walk and two hit batsmen. The Petrels put an unearned run across in the fourth on a Kalamazoo error.
The Petrels loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, and Motz came through with his second RBI of the contest, as he was hit by a pitch forcing in a run. However, a strike out and a double play immediately followed and the Hornets were still in the game, down 3-0.
Oglethorpe ended all doubt in the eighth, though. Senior third baseman Connor Crooke led off the frame with a double and immediately came home on an RBI single from freshman shortstop Alex Featherstone. Senior center fielder Jarvis Miller followed with a single, and senior right fielder Patrick Burnette came up with a double down the line to score Featherstone and make it 5-0. A sacrifice fly from senior designated hitter Adrian Celata made it 6-0, and the Petrels scored one more run on a Hornet error for the final margin.
Crooke finished the day 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored, while Burnette went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored. Senior first baseman Dee Kelly went 2-for-4, as well.
"I thought our guys responded well to the challenge that we gave them with the schedule this weekend," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Five games in three days is a tough task for anybody, but I thought our guys responded well and played really good baseball all weekend. We responded well after losing Game 1 yesterday, and I thought our guys swung the bats well all weekend long. We now have to hit the road as we head back into SAA play, and we know Centre is going to provide a tough test this coming weekend."
The Petrels will head up to Danville, Kentucky, for a 3-game series against Centre over the weekend. Saturday's doubleheader will get started at 1 p.m., while Sunday's single game will also get underway at 1 p.m.