The Oglethorpe baseball team got its 2018 season off to an outstanding start Saturday at Anderson Field, as they swept the visiting Covenant Scots in a doubleheader while throwing the fourth no-hitter in the program's Division III era in a 4-1 win in Game 2.
Junior lefty Kyle Babb, freshman righty Alex Smith, sophomore righty Noah Cole and sophomore righty Jack Bartlewski combined to throw the program's first no-hitter since Tim Crowley accomplished the feat against Sewanee in 1996. The no-hitter also served as the first time more than two pitchers combined for the feat in Oglethorpe's Division III history. Babb went four innings and earned the victory, allowing a run on three walks but striking out six Scots hitters. Smith, Cole and Bartlewski each pitched an inning, with Bartlewski earning the save. Bartlewski and Cole each struck out the side in their inning of work.
The Petrels got the scoring started in the first inning of the contest, as senior right fielder Adrian Celata singled in senior center fielder Patrick Burnette to give the Petrels a 1-0 lead. Covenant scored their lone run in the third, as they used a couple of walks and a hit batsman to load the bases and plated a run on a sacrifice fly. The Petrels took the lead back in the fourth, though, scoring three unearned runs and pulling out to a 4-1 advantage. They got a couple aboard via an error and a walk, then freshman shortstop Alex Featherstone gave the Petrels the lead back with a sacrifice fly. Burnette followed with a single up the middle to score another run, then sophomore catcher Andrew Mink brought home another run with an infield single. Oglethorpe was able to cruise to the victory from there thanks to the performance of the pitching staff.
In Game 1, Oglethorpe fell behind 2-1 in the fifth, but was able to bounce back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. A 2-run triple by Bartlewski served as the big blow in the frame, and the home side took a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning. The Scots tied it up in the sixth, sending the game to the seventh and final inning tied 4-4. Celata led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third with two outs on a groundout, which put him in position to score on a wild pitch on the next batter, securing victory for the Petrels.
Senior right-hander Matt Davis went four innings and allowed just a run on four hits, striking out six and walking two. Freshman right-hander Christopher Keane picked up his first career win in relief, throwing an inning and two-thirds of scoreless ball while striking out two.
"I think it was a great way to start the season," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Our guys played with a lot of energy, played hard, and played as a team, and they were behind each other the whole way. I thought we pitched well, got some big hits when we had to, and played solid defense, and I was proud of the way we came out today. It's not every day you throw a no-hitter, as well. All four of those guys threw great, and to accomplish something like that that hasn't been accomplished by this program in over 20 years is exciting."
The Petrels will turn around and face off against the same Covenant team at their place on Tuesday. They'll travel up Lookout Mountain to take on the Scots at 2 p.m. After that, the Petrels will return home to face off against MacMurray in a 3-game set at Anderson Field over the weekend.