The Oglethorpe baseball team found themselves locked in a pitcher's duel for much of Tuesday night's game against crosstown rival Emory at Anderson Field. The Stormy Petrels broke through with four runs in the seventh, though, turning a 2-2 tie into a 6-2 Oglethorpe victory and improving the home side to 23-12 on the season.
The visiting Eagles tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the top of the seventh inning, but the Petrels came back in the bottom half of the frame with the decisive rally. Junior third baseman Dylan Leonard reached on an error to start the inning, and sophomore center fielder Sam Buchanan followed with a bunt single while trying to sacrifice Leonard to second, giving Oglethorpe runners at first and second with nobody out. The two baserunners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, then sophomore shortstop Sam Held ripped a double just over the head of the Emory left fielder to score Leonard and give the Petrels the lead back. Buchanan had to hold up to make sure the ball wasn't going to be caught, so only made it to third on the play, but an infield single by senior right fielder Patrick Burnette drove Buchanan home one batter later to give the Petrels a 4-2 lead. The Petrels loaded the bases again, and junior first baseman Andrew Mink was hit by a pitch to drive in another run. After an Emory pitching change, Oglethorpe scored their final run of the inning on a wild pitch, giving them a 6-2 advantage.
From there, Oglethorpe pitching shut down Emory hitting for the final two innings, allowing just one baserunner over the remainder of the game. In fact, Petrel pitchers allowed just three hits over the course of the game. They did walk five batters, but they struck out nine, as well.
Freshman right-hander Christopher Keane got the win to improve to 4-0 on the season. He pitched two innings and allowed a run on two hits, striking out three. He gave up the lead in the seventh inning, but his offense picked him up in the bottom half of the frame.
That offense was led by sophomore shortstop Sam Held, who hit leadoff for the first time this season and went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a stolen base, an RBI and three runs scored.
Freshman right-hander Devlin Basinger got the start for Oglethorpe and went four innings, allowing one run on one hit while walking two and striking out three.
Oglethorpe got off to a good start in the first, as Held led off the game with a double, then scored on a 2-out single from Mink. Emory responded on a Jake Kessinger sacrifice fly in the second, but the home side got the run back in the third on a wild pitch.
"I thought it was a thorough win tonight, with pitching, defense and timely hitting," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "On the pitching side, the plan was to use as many guys as we needed, but our bullpen is one of the strengths of our team. We know we can win bullpen games like this, and I thought that Devlin Basinger gave us a great start. Offensively, you can't say enough about Sam Held tonight getting the chance to hit leadoff and coming through like he did."
The Petrels will face off against Birmingham-Southern in a big SAA series this weekend at Anderson Field. Oglethorpe sits tied with Rhodes for second place in the league with three games left, and the two stand two games back of first-place Berry. The top two teams in the league will host the first weekend of the SAA tournament April 19 through 21.