The Oglethorpe baseball team had a tough Saturday against the Birmingham-Southern Panthers, falling in both games as part of a doubleheader at Anderson Field. The Stormy Petrels lost the first game 16-8, then fell 11-5 in the second game. The results dropped Oglethorpe to 23-15 on the season overall and 12-9 in SAA play, locking them into third place in the league headed into the SAA Tournament.
Things got off to a decent start for the Petrels on the day. They fell behind the Panthers 2-0 in the first inning of Game 1, but came back with three of their own in the bottom half of the frame. With one out, senior right fielder Patrick Burnette singled and senior left fielder Adrian Celata followed with a single of his own. Junior first baseman Andrew Mink followed with a double to the left-center gap, scoring Burnette, and Motz singled to left center one batter later to score Celata and tie the game. The Petrels took the lead on a Birmingham-Southern error one batter later, then added a couple more runs in the second inning. Sophomore shortstop Sam Held got aboard with a bunt single to lead off the inning and Celata launched a homer over the left field wall three batters later to extend the Oglethorpe advantage to 5-2.
Birmingham-Southern took over from there, though. They tallied a couple of unearned runs in the third, then exploded for five runs in the fourth to take the lead back, 9-5. They ended all doubt when they scored four more in the seventh to take a 13-5 lead. The Petrels got a run back on a Jarvis Miller single in the eighth, but the Panthers answered with three more in the ninth. Mink launched a 2-run shot in the bottom half of the inning, but it was too little, too late for the Petrels.
The Petrels had some good offensive performances, as Celata wound up 2-for-3 with a home run, two walks, two RBIs and three runs scored; senior second baseman Matt Motz went 3-for-5 with an RBI; and Mink went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Junior left-hander Kyle Babb suffered the loss, going five innings and allowing six earned runs on seven hits. He walked five and struck out three, and fell to 6-3 on the season.
The Petrels held their Senior Day ceremony between games, and Burnette, Motz, Miller and Celata joined Henry Edwards, Bobby Rezac, Dee Kelly, Stuart Spiers, Connor Crooke, Britton Araujo and Matt Davis in receiving plaudits for their careers as members of the Stormy Petrels.
Game 2 commenced after the ceremony, and the Panthers picked up where they left off in Game 1. They scored five runs in the top of the first to put the Petrels behind the eight-ball right away. Oglethorpe responded with two in the bottom half of the inning, with one scoring on an Araujo double and the other on a Celata single. They got an additional jolt in the second inning when Edwards, who got the start on Senior Day, launched a home run in just his fourth plate appearance of the season. It served as his second career hit, and both have been home runs. It also drew the Petrels to within two, 5-3.
The teams traded runs in the third to make it 6-4, but the Panthers pushed their lead out by scoring two runs in each of the next two innings, extending their advantage to 10-4 in the fifth. Oglethorpe got a run back on a Motz homer to make it 10-5, but they got no closer. The visitors added one more in the seventh and final frame.
Motz led the team offensively, going 3-for-4 with a home run. Davis suffered the loss to fall to 3-5 on the season. He allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks over 2 2/3 innings, striking out a pair.
"This was a rough weekend where not too much went right for us," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Overall, we were sloppy in all aspects of the game all weekend. We'll regroup, though, and get ready to make a run in the conference tournament."
Before that, the Petrels will head to Montgomery, Alabama, to take on Huntingdon in a non-conference tilt Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern. After that, they'll get ready for the first weekend of the SAA Tournament, which will take place Thursday, April 19, through Saturday, April 21. Oglethorpe will head to Memphis, Tennessee, for their 4-team pod, and will hold the tournament's No. 3 overall seed. They'll take on a team to be determined on Thursday in their opening game of the tournament.