SAVANNAH, Ga. – Coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in more than a month, the No. 8 Georgia College & State University baseball team (35-14, 19-5 PBC) rebounded in a big way Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader at Armstrong Atlantic State University 19-1 and 5-0.
Three home runs by first baseman Matt Pitts (Brunswick, Ga.) and just one run and seven hits over 18 combined innings by the Bobcat pitching staff powered the team to a pair of victories on the final day of the regular season.
Game one was a 19-1 blowout, but not until the final three innings. Georgia College took a 3-1 lead and expanded it with five in the seventh, six in the eighth and five more in the ninth. Pitts swatted a pair of home runs, finishing 3-for-6 with five RBI and three runs. In the fourth, he singled, stole second, and eventually scored on a groundout to give the team the lead for good.
Lefty starter Jason Nicholas (Wright City, Mo.) went six strong innings, surrendering just the one run on just two hits and five walks for the win (5-2). Senior righty Brendon Malkowski (Schenectady, N.Y.) threw the final three, allowing one hit for his first save.
Shortstop Chandler Snell (Loganville, Ga.) had a perfect 4-for-4 day with two runs, while leftfielder Kyle Allen (Conyers, Ga.) scored a team-best four runs despite the benefit of just one hit. Third baseman Paul Bordon (Martinez, Ga.) and rightfielder Shawn Ward (Martinez, Ga.) each had two hits, two runs and three RBI. Centerfielder Sean Harrell (Martinez, Ga.) rounded out the multi-hit performers with a 2-for-5 effort, adding two runs and an RBI. Second baseman Jason Veyna (Lamar, Colo.) also went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
AASU starter Chris Base (1-7) allowed just three runs over six innings in the loss. Leftfielder Josh Wilson had two of the team’s three hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run on his third home run of the season.
Game two was a tight contest as well, scoreless into the fourth. The ‘Cats struck first when Pitts singled and eventually scored on a throwing error by the catcher after stealing third. Catcher Richard Pirkle (Norcross, Ga.) made it 2-0 after scoring on a groundout by designated hitter Brett George (Dacula, Ga.). The Bobcats put one more up in the seventh and two in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Righty starter Martin Dewald (Mannheim, Germany) stifled the Pirate bats all day, scattering four hits in the shutout, fanning a career high 13 and walking just one. Dewald (9-1) picked up his fifth complete game of the season, and second shutout of the year. He now has 89 strikeouts this year, tying Michael Antonini’s 2007 season for 10th in school history.
Allen had a pair of singles on a 2-for-4 game with an RBI, Pitts, Pirkle and George each tallied two hits, making the 5-6-7 spots in the order a combined 6-for-10 with four runs and two RBI.
Pirate starter Bryan Roby drops to 2-5 with the 6 2/3 inning effort.
The three home runs today give Georgia College 73 in the 2010 season, just two behind the school record set in 1985. The 469 RBI this season also marks the most in the school’s NCAA-era history and is fourth overall. Pitts now has 79 RBI this season, ranking seventh in school history, one behind Bill Blair (1984-87) from 1986.
The wins conclude the regular season for the Bobcats, the 2010 Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Champions. Next up is the opening round of the PBC Tournament against No. 25 USC Aiken Saturday, May 8 at 6 p.m. in Aiken, S.C.
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.