The Oglethorpe baseball team fought hard for 10 innings Sunday afternoon in Mount Berry, Ga., but lost in heartbreaking fashion in the end, 5-4, after a game that had a little bit of everything.
With the game tied 1-1 entering the seventh, the Petrels scored twice to take a late 3-1 lead. Right fielder Nick Manai doubled into the left-center field gap to lead the inning off, and one batter later, designated hitter Jeff Brothers grounded out and advanced Manai to third with two men out.
Left fielder Cory Leff then singled up the middle, scoring Manai and giving the Petrels the 2-1 lead. First baseman Casey Tuttle then reached on an error to put runners at first and second, and third baseman Frank Sarno smashed a single back up the middle to plate an unearned run and give Oglethorpe the two-run lead.
However, Berry came back in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of their own, largely helped by two Oglethorpe errors, and suddenly took a 4-3 lead.
The Petrels again fought back in the eighth inning, though. Back-to-back bunt singles from center fielder Vernon Trice and shortstop Spencer Transue started the inning. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, Trice advanced to third on a wild pitch, and second baseman Keith Dearden drove him in with a sacrifice fly, tying the game again.
In the bottom of the inning, Berry had a chance to take the lead back, but had a runner thrown out at the plate to end the inning on an unconventional double play. Berry had another chance to win in the bottom of the ninth by loading the bases, but got out of it when a lined smash back up the middle ricocheted off the shin of Oglethorpe pitcher David Langhan and bounced right to Tuttle, who stepped on the bag for the out.
However, in the 10th, Berry again loaded the bases with one out. Oglethorpe drew the infield in and brought Leff in as a fifth infielder, but Berry won the game on a bunt single down the third-base line.
The Petrels took an early 1-0 lead in the first. With two outs, Oglethorpe got three straight singles from Dearden, Brothers and Leff to score the game's opening run. Tuttle walked, as well, but the Petrels couldn't get any more runs from the inning. Berry tied the game in the fourth.
Freshman Kyle Mitchell pitched very well in this game, but had to settle for a no-decision. He allowed three runs on just three hits and three walks over six-plus innings of work. Joey McAlpin pitched the 10th and suffered the loss.
Leff went 3-for-5 in the game, driving two runs in and scoring one. Trice looks like he may be coming out of his slump, as he went 2-for 5 with a double and a run scored.
The loss drops the Petrels to 5-15 on the season, 2-7 in SAA play. This puts the Petrels in seventh place in the league, two games ahead of Sewanee for last and a half-game behind Hendrix for sixth. They will take on Millsaps next weekend in Jackson, Miss., in another three-game series to be played Friday-Sunday.