FLORENCE, S.C. – It came to a rather eventful finish, but the Georgia College Baseball team (35-15) punched its ticket to the NCAA Regionals with a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament Championship Saturday. The Bobcats beat No. 28 UNC Pembroke (40-15) 6-5 in the title game, completing a four-game sweep of action in the tournament.
The No. 3-seed Bobcats took down the No. 5-seed Braves in the title game, but it got eventful late.
Georgia College dominated for the first seven frames, staking a 6-0 advantage while lefty starter Kane Keith (Hogansville, Georgia) dazzled the Braves' hitters.
The Bobcats got two runs in the very first inning, a leadoff single from Cal Gentry (Perry, Georgia) an RBI triple from Brandon Benson (Loganville, Georgia) and a sacrifice fly from Logan Mattix (Loganville, Georgia). Benson singled home the third run in the second, then the Bobcats got two more in the fourth on an error and another Mattix sacrifice fly. The final run came across in the seventh on another UNCP error.
The Braves then came alive in the eighth, plating five runs on four hits. With two outs, senior righty Brady Walsh (Marietta, Georgia) entered, got a groundout to allow the fifth run, then a line out with the tying run on third to end the threat. Walsh then came out again in the ninth, setting down the Braves 1-2-3 for the save, his second this season.
Benson made PBC Tournament MVP honors, joining Keith and catcher Brandon Purcell (Glennville, Georgia) on the PBC All-Tournament Team.
In today's action, Benson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. Gentry and first baseman Clayten Ayres (Kennewick, Washington) each tallied two hits and a run scored.
Keith got the win (5-0) in a career-best outing, allowing three runs on nine hits over seven innings, fanning three and allowing just a single walk. Walsh went 1 2/3 with a strikeout to close it out.
The Bobcats pick up their third PBC Tournament Championship in the last five years, each victory coming in odd years, 2017, 2015 and 2013. The Bobcats blitzed the field at the tournament, beating Flagler College 14-0, No. 13 USC Aiken 12-2, and No. 2 University of North Georgia 7-6 to reach the title game.
Up next is the NCAA Regionals, with tournament field announcement at NCAA.com Sunday, May 14 at 10 p.m. Regional play begins Thursday, May 18.
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.