The Oglethorpe baseball team got their SAA season off to a fantastic start Friday evening at Anderson Field. They got an outstanding pitching performance from junior right-hander Matt Davis and swung the bats extremely well, bludgeoning Rhodes 10-0 in a game that was called after eight innings due to the 10-run rule. The victory improved the Stormy Petrels to 6-3 on the season overall and 1-0 in conference play.
Davis did not allow a hit through five-and-two-thirds innings, and finished his outing with 12 strikeouts over his 7 shutout innings of work. He allowed just 2 hits, walking just a single Rhodes batter and allowing three more to reach via hit-by-pitch.
While he was twirling a gem, the Oglethorpe lineup was pounding out 13 hits on the three Rhodes pitchers. The Petrels got things started in the second inning, as junior second baseman Matt Motz led off by reaching on an error. After advancing to second on a groundout, he subsequently scored on a double down the line by junior first baseman Dee Kelly.
Davis stranded two runners on in the next half-inning and the Petrels came back with 3 more runs in the fourth. Junior designated hitter Connor Crooke led off the frame with a walk and Kelly followed with a single. After a Brian Kowalski sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, junior left fielder Britton Araujo drove in a run with a ground ball which turned into much more after an error allowed both runners to score and put Araujo at second base. A run-scoring single to left from junior center fielder Jarvis Miller put the Petrels up 4-0, and they added another tally in the fifth when senior right fielder Brandon Fish led off with a triple and Motz followed with an RBI groundout.
Davis stranded a Lynx baserunner at third in the sixth and he left two men aboard in the seventh. The Petrels entered the bottom of the eighth with a 5-0 lead, but exploded in that frame. Motz singled up the middle to lead things off, then a Crooke sacrifice bunt turned into an Oglethorpe run when Rhodes committed an error trying to gun down Motz. Kelly and freshman shortstop Kowalski followed with back-to-back singles, and an Araujo walk loaded the bases with one out. Miller singled up the middle to score another run, then Oglethorpe extended their lead to 8-0 with a bases-loaded balk. Senior third baseman Austin Ferlita came to the plate at that point and smashed a one-hopper past the Rhodes shortstop and all the way to the fence, allowing both remaining Oglethorpe runs to score and enacting the 10-run rule.
Kelly finished the game 3-for-4 with a a double, an RBI and 2 runs scored, while Fish went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.
"It's always nice to get the first conference win of the year under your belt," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Davis was as good as I've seen him, able to locate four pitches and make big pitches when he had to. We have a big day tomorrow with a chance to take the series, and we're looking for the guys to bring the same energy they brought to the field tonight."
The Petrels will be right back at it on Saturday, as they finish the 3-game set against the Lynx with a doubleheader at Anderson Field, beginning at 1 p.m. After that, they'll head across town to take on No. 1 Emory Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.