MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – The Georgia College Baseball team (35-14) was upended in a thriller to start the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament, falling 6-5 in a walkoff to No. 17 USC Aiken (40-13). The Pacers plated three in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
The No. 6-seed Bobcats will fall to the losers' bracket to play an elimination contest against the loser of No. 2-seed University of North Georgia and No. 8-seed Lincoln Memorial University. The No. 3-seed Pacers advance to face the winner of the same matchup.
"It's a tough loss for our guys, we played really well, but got stagnant offensively," said head coach Jason Eller. "We had some opportunities late and didn't take advantage, but I'm proud of the efforts of our student-athletes and the way we competed."
The Bobcats started hot, scoring twice in the first on a sacrifice fly from Logan Mattix (Loganville, Georgia) and an RBI single for Wesley Wommack (Monroe, Georgia). USCA answered with three in the first themselves, including a pair of RBI singles.
The Bobcats wasted little time getting back in front, when a double from Brandon Benson (Loganville, Georgia) one-hopped the fence in left-center with the bases loaded to score three. Then the pitchers took over.
Bobcat starter Brady Walsh (Marietta, Georgia) tossed five straight scoreless frames after allowing the three-spot in the first. His counterpart Joseph Benitez added four blank innings himself before handing the game to reliever Nick Yobbi. The righty finished the game with three scoreless frames to get the win (5-3).
With the Bobcats up 5-3 headed to the bottom of the ninth, a hit batsman was followed by a clutch two-run, game-tying home run from third baseman Daulton Weeks. Pinch hitter Jonathan Banks followed with a single, and after two outs pushed him to third, Luke Westerberg lined a single up the middle for the win.
Third baseman Cal Gentry (Perry, Georgia) went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs. Wommack added two hits of his own and an RBI.
The Bobcats are back in action tomorrow, May 19 at 11 a.m. in an elimination contest.
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.