Baseball suffers doubleheader sweep at Covenant

Baseball suffers doubleheader sweep at Covenant

The Oglethorpe baseball team was swept in a doubleheader by in-state opponent Covenant Saturday atop Lookout Mountain. The Stormy Petrels suffered a tough extra-inning loss in Game 1 after taking a 3-0 lead in the top half of the extra frame, then dropped the second game 11-9 after falling behind 11-4 in the late innings.

Neither team could get any offense going throughout most of Game 1, but both sides got outstanding performances from their respective starting pitchers. The Petrels' Noah Cole allowed four hits and three walks over 5 1/3 shutout innings, striking out six Scots in the process. His counterpart Andrew Cline stuck out nine over 5 2/3 innings and also didn't allow a run.

Both teams had runners advance to third base for the first time in the sixth of a scheduled seven innings. Covenant got out of the sixth unscathed, though, and Petrel right-hander Dylan Childress relieved Cole and finished the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. The Petrels again stranded a runner at third in the seventh, but they broke through in the eighth.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, sophomore catcher Alec Babb singled through the left side of the infield to score junior shortstop Austin Jackson and give his team a 1-0 extra-inning lead. Sophomore center fielder Shota Barbeau followed with a bases-loaded walk to double the lead, and a sacrifice fly from Dylan Leonard later in the frame scored senior Jacob Gassert and made it 3-0.

The Petrels got the first two outs without a problem in the bottom half of the inning, but Covenant loaded the bases to put the tying run on first and the winning run at the plate. A fielding error turned what could've been the final out into a Scot run, making the score 3-1, and kept the game going. One batter later, pinch-hitter Jonah Carignan laced a double into the right-center field gap that cleared the bases and give the home side a walkoff victory.

Oglethorpe started well in Game 2, also scheduled for seven innings. The first inning featured an Andrew Mink RBI double, a Babb RBI single, and a Gassert sacrifice fly, giving Oglethorpe an early 3-0 edge. Covenant came back for three combined runs over the second and third innings, but the Petrels regained the lead in the fifth on a Barbeau sacrifice fly. 

The Scots exploded in the bottom half of the inning, though, scoring eight runs on four hits, five walks and a hit batsman. Suddenly, the home side led 11-4 with Oglethorpe down to their last six outs.

The first two hitters made outs in the top of the seventh, but the Petrels suddenly started getting runners aboard, putting six straight hitters on the basepaths. Mink slugged a three-run homer to make it 11-7 and, two batters later, Babb drove in a run with a double and came all the way around to score on a Scot error. Freshman pinch-hitter Andrew Noack walked to bring the potential tying run to the plate. However, the rally ended on the next batter, and Covenant walked away with a two-run win.

Babb went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the Game 1 loss, then followed that up with a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort in Game 2. On the day, he went 5-for-8 with two doubles, three RBIs, and a run scored. Mink went a perfect 3-for-3 in Game 2, driving in four runs and scoring two while recording two extra-base hits.

"I thought we battled today, but we made key mistakes in all three phases in both games," said Oglethorpe head coach Dan Giordano. "Those mistakes ultimately did us in. With a young team, we're learning about ourselves and will continue to get better."

The 1-2 Petrels will stay on the road in-state during the middle of the week, as they'll travel to Demorest to take on Piedmont Wednesday at 7 p.m. After that, they'll return home for 13 straight starting with games against No. 13 Christopher Newport, Pacific Lutheran and George Fox next weekend.