CARY, N.C. – No. 4 Georgia College & State University baseball (41-16) pounded out 10 hits and a tournament-best nine runs en route to a 9-4 win over No. 3 University of Central Missouri (52-11) Wednesday, advancing to the next round of the Division II College World Series.
The win advances the Bobcats to the final four of this year's Division II Championships. Georgia College will take on No. 9-ranked University of Southern Indiana Thursday, May 27 at 3 p.m.
Senior righthander Brendon Malkowski (Schenectady, N.Y.) entered in the fourth and went the rest of the way, allowing just two hits and no walks while fanning nine. The six innings of work was the most for the reliever Malkowski (6-1) since April 3.
“I had the fastball working for me again,” said Malkowski. “I got one strikeout on a split change, but the rest was the fastball. I felt great.”
Head coach Tom Carty remarked on the big righty's effort in relief.
“Brendon was huge for us today,” said Carty. “He's a guy that can throw the fastball upstairs on purpose, he rises through the zone well. We've been working with him on setting up hitters low in the zone, making that high fastball that much more effective.”
The Bobcats jumped out in front with a pair in the bottom of the first, when leftfielder Kyle Allen (Conyers, Ga.) led the game with a single, scoring on rightfielder Shawn Ward's (Martinez, Ga.) single. Ward later came around himself on a Mule error.
After the Mules took a 4-3 lead in the top of the third thanks to a four-hit inning, the Bobcats responded in a big way, putting four runs across. Third baseman Steve Muoio (Rochester, N.Y.) started the scoring with an RBI single, plating Allen who tripled. Ward then scored another run with a sacrifice fly. After an out, catcher Richard Pirkle (Norcross, Ga.) ripped a two run blast to left field for a 6-4 lead.
“Momentum is one of the biggest factors in team sports in my mind,” said Ward of taking the lead right back from the Mules in the third. “We hadn't had the bats going for quite a while and it was nice to finally support all of this great pitching we've been given.”
While Malkowski was throwing up goose-eggs, the bats continued to stretch the lead. Ward's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 7-4, while a pinch-hit solo home run by Andrew Evans (Milledgeville, Ga.) made it 8-4 in the sixth. Centerfielder Sean Harrell (Martinez, Ga.) capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Ward finished 2-for-2 with three RBI and a run, while Allen scored twice on a 2-for-4 day. Muoio was also 2-for-4 with one RBI. Harrell scored twice and drove in one on a 1-for-1 day, tallying a pair of walks and two sacrifices.
Mule starter Mitch Stubenhoffer (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season, not making it out of the third inning. He allowed five earned runs on five hits and a walk. At bat, shortstop Bret Schwartz was the only multi-hit performer at 2-for-3.
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.