FLORENCE, S.C. – Senior righty Martin Dewald (Mannheim, Germany) said in a post-game press conference that he doesn't like giving up the ball and it showed Sunday afternoon, as No. 3-seed and No. 9-ranked Georgia College & State University (39-15) blanked No. 1-seed and No. 6-ranked Francis Marion University (40-14) 9-0 in the championship game of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. The Bobcats will advance to the World Series Saturday, May 22 in Cary, N.C.
“The guys played great baseball for four days, good team baseball,” said head coach Tom Carty in just his third season as Bobcat skipper. “We knew we were capable of this back in August, and we just kept working toward getting at this level. Having a chance to get to the World Series has been a goal, and now we have the opportunity to win a National Championship.”
Region Tournament Most Valuable Player Dewald couldn't have picked a better time for his third shutout of the year, scattering six hits, not walking a single batter and fanning eight.
“I wanted the ball today, that's why I wanted to pitch in the first game so I could go again on Sunday,” said Dewald of the two complete games in the regional. “I want to go for as long as I can every time out there. I don't like giving the ball away.”
Catcher Richard Pirkle (Norcross, Ga.) ripped two home runs on the day, including a big grand slam to put the game out of reach 7-0. Georgia College had plated one run each in the second, third and fourth innings, and Pirkle put up a four-run big blast on the first pitch he saw in the fifth.
“The reliever had given (Shawn) Ward three straight sliders, so I was looking breaking pitch up there,” said Pirkle of the grand slam. “To be honest I didn't know where it went after I hit it, I just heard the roar from everybody and saw the leftfielder going back to the fence.”
Pirkle added a solo shot in the seventh to cap the scoring, finishing 2-for-4 with five RBI and two runs. Joining Pirkle on the all-tournament team was second baseman Jason Veyna (Lamar, Colo.) with a 2-for-4 effort and a run, while rightfielder and all-tourney selection Shawn Ward (Martinez, Ga.) hit 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Joining Veyna, Ward, Pirkle and Dewald on the all-tournament team was shortstop Chandler Snell (Loganville, Ga.). Snell provided numerous highlight-reel defensive plays at short over the four days.
The Bobcats will advance to the Division II World Series for the first time since 1995, and take on national No. 1 UC-San Diego Saturday at 5 p.m., but for now, Carty's 'Cats can celebrate the second Region Championship in school history.
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.