The Oglethorpe baseball team got a victory in its SAA opener Friday evening at Anderson Field, outlasting the visiting Berry Vikings in a 12-11 slugfest to improve to 7-2 on the season overall. The Stormy Petrels came back from a 6-run deficit for the second time in four days, as they scored eight runs in the fifth inning to dig out of a 9-3 hole. The Vikings countered by tying the game, but the Petrels pushed across the game-winning run in the eighth.
With the game tied 11-11, senior third baseman Connor Crooke led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, bringing senior right fielder Patrick Burnette to the plate. Burnette had already launched a pinch-hit, 3-run homer to complete the comeback and tie the game at 9-9 in the fifth. He came through again in the eighth, ripping a triple to score Crooke and give Oglethorpe a 12-11 edge.
Sophomore closer Jack Bartlewski entered the game in the ninth and got the first man to strike out. Bartlewski allowed a 1-out single, but closed the game out with a strikeout-caught stealing double play, securing his third save of the season. Sophomore right-hander Dylan Childress collected his second straight relief win, allowing a single hit over two innings, striking out three.
Down 9-3 after giving up six runs in the top of the fifth, the Petrels came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Senior designated hitter Adrian Celata and sophomore first baseman Andrew Mink led off with singles, and Celata scored on a Berry error. Back-to-back RBI singles from freshman catcher Alec Babb and Crooke made the score 9-6, bringing Burnette to the plate as a pinch-hitter. He tied the game with his round-tripper, and senior left fielder Bobby Rezac followed with a solo home run a couple batters later, giving the Petrels a 10-9 lead. The next three Oglethorpe hitters reached base, bringing Babb up again for his second RBI single of the inning, capping off the frame with an 11-9 advantage.
Berry scored a couple in the sixth to tie it, setting the stage for Burnette's eighth-inning heroics.
Mink went 4-for-6 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored; Burnette went 2-for-3 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs after entering the game in the fifth; and Celata went 3-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored.
"I'm proud of the fight in our guys, and of their belief in their teammates," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "We had our backs against the wall and we were able to fight our way out. We have a chance to win a series tomorrow, and that is always our main goal on these tough SAA weekends."
The Petrels will finish up their 3-game set with the Vikings in a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game is scheduled to get started at 2 p.m., and that will be followed by Game 2 at approximately 5:15 p.m.