Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Hendrix, Moves into Tie for Second Place in SAA

Baseball Splits Doubleheader with Hendrix, Moves into Tie for Second Place in SAA

The Oglethorpe baseball team split a doubleheader with Hendrix Sunday in Conway, Arkansas, allowing them to move into a tie for second place in the SAA with Rhodes at two games back of first-place Berry. The Stormy Petrels defeated the homestanding Warriors 4-1 in a 7-inning Game 2 on Saturday after falling 9-4 in the first game. Oglethorpe improved to 22-12 on the season overall and 12-6 in SAA play.

After falling in Game 1, the Petrels responded with a solid performance in Game 2. Senior right-hander Matt Davis got the start and delivered one of his best performances of the season. He went five innings and allowed just one run on four hits, striking out two and working around four walks and a hit batsman. He gave the Petrels a chance to win and for his efforts, he earned his third victory of the season and the 20th of his career. The latter mark broke the previous Oglethorpe career record.

David held the Warriors scoreless through the opening four innings, but Hendrix starter Seth Tucker did the same with the Petrels. Oglethorpe broke through in the fifth inning, though. They loaded the bases with nobody out and sophomore shortstop Sam Held came through with a run-scoring single to left, breaking the scoreless deadlock. Senior center fielder Jarvis Miller followed by grounding into a double play, but junior third baseman Dylan Leonard scored on the play to give the visitors a 2-0 edge.

Hendrix answered with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom half of the inning to halve the Oglethorpe advantage, but the Petrels gave themselves some breathing room in the seventh and final frame. A leadoff double from freshman catcher Alec Babb put him in position to score on a Hendrix error a batter later. Then sophomore left fielder Sam Buchanan, who reached on the error, moved to third with a stolen base and a groundout, putting himself in position to score on a single from Miller.

That gave the Petrels a 4-1 lead headed into the bottom half of the inning, and that was all sophomore closer Jack Bartlewski needed. He set the Warriors down in order in the seventh, securing his seventh save of the season. That mark gave him eight saves on the season, putting him atop the Oglethorpe single-season saves leaderboard. 

The game served as a bounce-back from the first game of the day. The Petrels fell behind 6-1 early in that one and Hendrix was able to maintain their advantage en route to a 9-4 win. 

Oglethorpe took a 1-0 lead in the first on a double from junior first baseman Andrew Mink, but the Warriors responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning and four in the second. A Mink home run in the third cut the Hendrix lead to 6-2, and after another Hendrix run, a sacrifice fly in the sixth from senior third baseman Connor Crooke cut it to 7-3. However, Hendrix was able to recover with two more in the seventh. A sacrifice fly from senior designated hitter Adrian Celata gave the Petrels a run back in the ninth, but it wasn't enough to work them back into the game.

Junior left-hander Kyle Babb suffered just his second loss of the year, allowing seven runs on nine hits through five innings of work. He walked four, hit a batter and struck out two. 

Mink served as a bright spot for the Petrels in the game, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, a stolen base, two RBIs and two runs scored.

"I was happy that we were able to win another series after bouncing back from a tough loss early today," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Matt Davis was really good today and we were able to get several clutch hits late in Game 2."

The Petrels have secured at least third place in the SAA, with their nearest trailing competitor sitting four games back with three to play. That assures them of the highest finish in their SAA history, surpassing the fourth place 2015 team. Oglethorpe's 12 SAA victories also assures them that they'll finish this season with the most victories by a Petrel team in an SAA campaign, also surpassing the 2015 squad, who finished 11-8.

Oglethorpe will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host crosstown rival Emory at 7 p.m. on Anderson Field. After that, they'll welcome Birmingham-Southern to Atlanta for their final SAA series of the regular season. A single game is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m., followed by a doubleheader Saturday at 2 p.m.