FLORENCE, S.C. – The No. 3-seed Georgia College & State University baseball team (36-15) used all facets of the game to edge No. 4-seed Mount Olive College (40-10) Thursday 4-3 in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament at Francis Marion University.
The Bobcats advance to tomorrow, playing the winner of the No. 2-seed Columbus State University/No. 5-seed Catawba College contest. The next Georgia College game will come at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14. The Trojans will take on the winner of No. 1-seed Francis Marion University against No. 6-seed Erskine College Friday at 3 p.m.
The Bobcats got a complete game from starter Martin Dewald (Mannheim, Germany), combined with timely hitting and more than a few outstanding defensive plays, including one by second baseman Jason Veyna (Lamar, Colo.) to close out the game and send the 2008 National Champions to the loser's bracket.
Knotted up at 2-2 after the sixth, the Trojans took advantage of a two-out double by Joseph Westbrook off the glove of diving third baseman Paul Bordon (Martinez, Ga.) into left. MOC scored the go-ahead run when third baseman Topher Ellis ripped a single to center.
The Bobcats answered back in the bottom half, plating a pair when the Trojans gave Georgia College some extra outs. With runners on first and second, pitcher Jackson Massey tried to get the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt, loading the bases. Bobcat centerfielder Sean Harrell (Martinez, Ga.) beat out a double play ball to plate Andrew Evans (Milledgeville, Ga.), who led the inning with a centerfield single.
First baseman Matt Pitts (Brunswick, Ga.) then hit a bounding ball to third, and Bordon slid underneath the tag attempt at the plate, giving Georgia College the 4-3 lead.
“Winning close games like this in the post season is something we've spent all season trying to learn how to do,” said GCSU head coach Tom Carty. “Today we overcame some tough breaks and held on to win, and that's what playing good playoff baseball is all about.”
After the Trojans went in order in the eighth, designated hitter Michael Knox had a one-out single in the top of the ninth. His pinch runner, Kyle Hinrichs moved to second on wild pitch with two out, when Westbrook hit a sinking liner toward Veyna at second. The ball caromed off the dirt and Veyna used his chest to keep it in front, firing strike to first to retire the batter despite a head-first dive from Westbrook.
Dewald (10-2) tossed the complete-game effort, his sixth of the season allowing three runs on seven hits and -five strikeouts to the top hitting team in all of Division II. Massey (7-2) went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks, fanning three.
For the Bobcats, Pitts finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run, while Evans had three hits in four trips, scoring a run. Rightfielder Shawn Ward (Martinez, Ga.) had an RBI double in the sixth and ended 2-for-4.
For the Trojans, Knox was 2-for-2, blasting a two-run home run in the fourth. Leftfielder Westbrook chipped in with a 2-for-4 effort and the one run.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.