As the Oglethorpe University Petrels opened their season splitting a double-header with Maryville College, expectations remained high for a successful 2010 campaign.
Dan Giordano started his 7th season as head coach, bringing with him an experienced crew that counted eight returning seniors, a far cry from the three former seasons which counted only six graduating seniors combined.
After finishing their previous season 19-17 for the first winning season in their recent memory, but missing the SCAC Divisional Playoffs for the first time in two years, hopes were high, as the SCAC had ranked OU as the 4th best in the division. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome would be the departures of Daniel Sariskey, drafted by MLB’s Houston Astros, and fiery outfielder Chris “Tex” Lucas. But a strong freshman class was ready to step up to bat for OU.
Leading 2010’s squad were captains J.J. Rizzo, Matt Cornwell, Sam Briend, and Steve Archer along with contributing position players such as Brendan Pilger and Adam Brazenas. Rumors had it that newly recruited RHP John Gibbs could develop into a top notch starter and freshman infielder Nick Manai was ready to contribute with a much needed lefty-bat. Predictably, a few players had been seen nursing aches and pains with the head of OU’s medical staff; All-SCAC First Teamer J.J. Rizzo and lefty starter Mario Rivera had been slowed, but both said that they should be good to go with the beginning of the season.
The season opened up with a blast. Actually, three.
Senior outfielder Brendan Pilger, later named SCAC Player of the Week, provided all the offense needed with three home runs in four at bats, driving in seven of the Petrels eight runs. Coming into the seventh and final inning, with the Maryville Scots up by two, Pilger launched his final shot with two on to provide a spectacular walk-off victory. Oglethorpe starter Sam Briend lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs, while Spencer Kennedy pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to get the win.
In the nightcap, the offense was unable to rally the floundering pitching staff, which allowed sixteen runs in the shortened, 7-inning game. The Petrels D committed 3 errors in Game 2 alone, amounting to 7 for the two games, an issue that certainly would be addressed.