The Oglethorpe baseball team fell behind early Friday night against the visiting Birmingham-Southern Panthers and couldn't bounce back in a 5-3 defeat at Anderson Field. The result dropped the Stormy Petrels to 23-13 on the season overall and 12-7 in SAA play. With the loss, Oglethorpe fell a half-game back of second-place Rhodes into third place in the league, with the Lynx getting their 3-game series with Hendrix started on Saturday.
The Petrels fell behind 1-0 in the first inning when the Panthers' leadoff hitter walked, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on a sacrifice fly. In the third, Birmingham-Southern scored three runs, two of them unearned after an Oglethorpe error on a rundown play allowed a pair of Panther runners to score. They added another on a solo home run in the sixth, making the score 5-0.
Meanwhile, the Petrels were unable to get the bats going against Panther starting pitcher Jake Cook. They managed just three hits over Cook's six innings pitched and got two more aboard with hit batsmen.
Oglethorpe right-handed starter Noah Cole pitched well and kept the Petrels in the game. He allowed three earned runs on four hits over seven innings, but also walked three and hit a batter.
The Petrels jolted to life in the bottom of the eighth, though. Senior third baseman Connor Crooke singled and freshman shortstop Sam Held walked. Then with two outs in the inning, senior designated hitter Adrian Celata launched his eighth home run of the season, a 3-run shot over the left-field wall, to put the Petrels back in the game at 5-3. Junior first baseman Andrew Mink singled after that to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but the Petrels left him on first and couldn't get anything going in the ninth inning.
Cole suffered the loss to fall to 3-2 on the season. Sophomore right-hander Austin Manuel pitched well over the final two innings, allowing a walk and a hit and not allowing a run.
"Tonight was a tough loss," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "We started off slow and just ran out of time. We squared some balls up, but couldn't string a few hits together in any inning other than the eighth. I have confidence that we'll bounce back tomorrow, though."
The Petrels will take on the Panthers in a doubleheader to complete the series, with Game 1 set to start at 2 p.m. on Anderson Field. Senior Day festivities will take place between games, with 11 members of the Oglethorpe baseball program receiving honors.