The Oglethorpe baseball team bounced back from Friday's ninth inning loss in extremely impressive fashion Saturday at the Firehouse Classic in Montgomery, Alabama. The Stormy Petrels bludgeoned the Huntingdon Hawks, the event's host team, and never gave them an opportunity to recover, defeating them 13-3 in a 7-inning game shortened by the 10-run rule. With the win, the Petrels improve to 1-1 on the young season, and will look to come home from the Firehouse Classic with a winning record on Sunday.
The Petrels mashed 17 hits as a team, and played errorless ball for the second consecutive day. Senior right fielder Brandon Fish went 3-for-5 at the plate on the afternoon with a home run, a double, 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Junior first baseman Adrian Celata posted a 3-for-4 afternoon, for his part, with a double, a sacrifice fly, a stolen base, 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Junior catcher Bobby Rezac went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore left-hander Kyle Babb picked up his first win as a Petrel, going 6 innings while allowing a single run on 6 hits while striking out three Hawks batters and walking just one. He also hit two batters with pitches.
The Petrels jumped into the lead in the first inning of the contest, with a 2-run homer from Fish. They maintained that lead into the third, when they rallied again. Celata started it with a one-out single, then stole second. Fish followed with a double down the left field line, plating Celata to give Oglethorpe a 3-0 edge. Junior second baseman Matt Motz then stepped to the plate and scored Fish with a single up the middle, and Rezac ended the scoring with an RBI double, making it 5-0.
Back-to-back baserunners to lead off the fourth led to the Celata sacrifice fly, making it 6-0 before Huntingdon answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning. The Petrels essentially put the game away in the fifth, though. Rezac led off the inning with a double and junior designated hitter Connor Crooke followed with a single. After a Sam Held sacrifice bunt, junior left fielder Britton Araujo drove in Rezac with a single of his own. Senior third baseman Austin Ferlita came through with a run-scoring single of his own before Celata knocked the other two runs home with a double down the line. The Petrels led 10-1 after five innings of play.
They added three more in the seventh on a pair of RBI singles from Celata and Fish, along with a run-scoring fielder's choice by Motz. Huntingdon scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, and had the run that potentially could've extended the game into the eighth inning in scoring position, but Oglethorpe reliever Chris Woodward snuffed the rally out.
"That's a great bounceback performance," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Babb was exceptional keeping their hitters off balance and using both sides of the plate. We have the bats clicking on all cylinders right now and hope to keep it going tomorrow against a really good LaGrange team."
The Petrels will take on the Panthers at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Sunday in Montgomery, concluding their stay at the Firehouse Classic. After that, they'll return home to Anderson Field to take on Covenant in their home opener Wednesday at 5 p.m.