CARY, N.C. – The left arm of junior Jason Nicholas (Wright City, Mo.) combined with the timely hitting of sophomore Benton Yaun (Marietta, Ga.) kept No. 4 Georgia College & State University baseball (40-16) alive in the Division II College World Series with a 2-1 win over No. 2 University of Tampa (46-11) Monday.
The Bobcats advance through to the next round of play, facing the loser of tonight's UC-San Diego and University of Central Missouri contest Wednesday, May 26 at 3 p.m. in another elimination game at the USA Baseball Training Complex's Coleman Field.
“There's a number four next to our name,” said GCSU head coach Tom Carty of battling through a tough loser's bracket. “It's there for a reason. We think we've got the kind of ballclub that can beat anyone on any given day, we just need to play up to that potential.”
Nicholas (7-2) tossed an absolute gem surrendering just one unearned run in eight innings, walking two and allowing seven hits while fanning six. The junior battled out of a sticky situation in the fourth, when tied 1-1 the Spartans had runners on second and third with none out. Nicholas struck out the first batter, got the second on a shallow fly to right and ended the inning on a fly to left.
“I just knew I needed to relax,” said Nicholas of escaping the jam in the fourth. “Just work the hitters and use my stuff to get out of trouble.”
Yaun attributed for all Georgia College RBI today, first in the second ripping a two-out double to right center to plate Richard Pirkle (Norcross, Ga.) who had walked with two out. Then in the fourth, he put the Bobcats ahead for the second and final time with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Steve Muoio (Rochester, N.Y.) who had also walked.
Nicholas threw 115 pitches over eight innings and gave way to senior lefty Ryan Tabor (Lawrenceville, Ga.) in the ninth. Tabor hadn't pitched since May 8 and after a leadoff single he shook off the rust, setting the remaining three down in order to end the game. Tabor picked up his team-high fourth save. Nicholas has a 22-inning streak without an earned run, dating back to a home run against Armstrong Atlantic State University May 1.
Yaun finished 1-for-3 with the two RBI, while rightfielder Shawn Ward (Martinez, Ga.) had two hits in four trips.
Tampa starter Josh Bowman fell to 8-5 with the 6 1/3 innings of work, allowing just the two runs and striking out eight. Spartan designated hitter Mike Schwartz was 2-for-4 with an RBI single, while shortstop Patrick Donahue finished 3-for-4.
The win gives head coach Carty his first 40-win season, and the seventh 40-win season in the NCAA era of baseball at Georgia College.
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.