Two Bombs, Strong Pitching Send GC Baseball Past #13 USC Aiken in PBC Tournament, 12-2

Junior catcher Brandon Purcell
Junior catcher Brandon Purcell

FLORENCE, S.C. – For the second-straight game, the Georgia College Baseball team (33-13) got a run-rule game in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament, pounding No. 13 USC Aiken (39-12) for a 12-2 victory to stay in the winner's bracket.

The win moves the No. 3-seed Bobcats to the next round, taking on the winner of No. 4-seed Columbus State University and No. 8-seed Georgia Southwestern State University. The No. 2-seed Pacers fall to the loser's bracket to face No. 6-seed Flagler College.

Posed with the tall order of taking on PBC Pitcher of the Year in Joseph Benitez, the Bobcats rose to the challenge, getting 10 hits and seven runs off the lefty, knocking him out in the fifth. Benitez (11-3) had not surrendered more than three runs in an outing this season.

With the game tied 2-2 in the fourth, the Bobcats jumped in front for the first time on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Phillip Stiles (Lumberton, New Jersey) singled to lead the inning, moved to third on a single and a groundout, setting up the go-ahead score.

The Bobcats never looked back from that point, plating four in the fifth , two in the sixth and three in the seventh. Catcher Brandon Purcell (Glennville, Georgia) swatted a two-run home run in the sixth, and shortstop Brandon Benson (Loganville, Georgia) added a two –run shot of his own in the seventh. Benson now has 22 home runs on the season, one shy of the school record.

Righty Charlie Hecht (Johns Creek, Georgia) had a complete game victory, improving to 6-3. Hecht scattered seven hits and a single walk for one earned run over seven innings, fanning five Pacer batters, including setting down seven straight at one point.

Purcell finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs, three runs and the home run. Eight of the nine Bobcat hitters had at least one hit, with seven tallying multi-hit games. Benson finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run. Stiles was 2-for-4 with two runs. Rightfielder Wesley Wommack (Monroe, Georgia) had two hits, two runs and an RBI. Second baseman Garrett Green (Bogart, Georgia) had two singles and an RBI, while centerfielder Logan Mattix (Loganville, Georgia) went 2-for-4 with a run.

The Bobcats are back in action Friday, May 12 at 8:30 p.m.

The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on social media for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.