February 23, 2013

Baseball Blows Four-Run Ninth Inning Lead, Loses 14-9 to Bates

The Oglethorpe baseball team enjoyed a large lead, 9-5, going into the ninth inning against Bates on Saturday. But the Petrels will have to wait a little while longer for their first win, as they gave up nine runs in the inning and lost, 14-5.

The inning featured nine runs, six hits, two Petrel errors and four Petrel walks. The Petrels allowed the first four men aboard in the inning, then recorded a groundout that put the tying run at third base. They did not record another out for the next eight batters.

It looked for awhile like this would be the Petrels' first win of the year, in a game that was moved to Emory's Chappell Park because Anderson Field was flooded by recent heavy rain. They appeared to take control of the contest when they scored six runs in the fifth inning on six hits. With one out, right fielder Nick Manai walked, and catcher Jeff Brothers and shortstop TJ Schmutz singled, loading the bases. After the Bobcats went to a relief pitcher, the Petrels followed with three straight RBIs. First baseman Casey Tuttle started with an RBI groundout, scoring Manai. Third baseman Keith Dearden then scored Brothers with an infield single, and designated hitter Cory Leff singled in Schmutz, making the score 5-3 Petrels. Later on in the inning, left fielder Will Hanna scored Dearden with an RBI single, and center fielder Vernon Trice struck the big blow, a two-run double, and the Petrels suddenly had a five-run lead, 8-3.

The Petrels gave up a couple runs, but added a run of their own in the seventh, leading to the 9-5 ninth-inning lead.

Oglethorpe fell behind 1-0 in the second, but tied the game in the third with a Manai RBI single. Then, after giving up two more runs to Bates, the Petrels added another run of their own in the fourth when Leff walked with the bases loaded, tallying an RBI and scoring a run. That cut the deficit to 3-2 and led to the fifth inning explosion.

The Petrels again had a poor time of it in the field, committing six errors on the day. However, the bevy of errors only led to two unearned runs, and all nine ninth-inning runs were earned. Petrel pitchers gave up 12 earned runs on 17 hits and issued nine walks.

It was Oglethorpe's best game of the year thus far offensively, though, as the team pounded out 12 hits of their own. Tuttle went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored, Transue went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs, and Schmutz went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

Transue went on to suffer the loss after moving to the mound in the eighth inning. He allowed seven runs on seven hits through an inning-and-a-third of work.

The Petrels drop to 0-5 on the season. Their next game will come Sunday night, when they complete this weather-affected two-game series with Bates. It was originally scheduled to be a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Anderson Field, but Game 1 got moved to Chappell Park on Saturday, and Game 2 will now be Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. on Anderson Field.

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