GREENWOOD, S.C. – The No. 7-seed Georgia College baseball team (32-17) punched its ticket for the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament Championship game Sunday after eliminating No. 5-seed UNC Pembroke (38-16) 13-5 in a game that started late Friday night and ended in the wee hours Saturday morning.
Lefty starter John Clark (Duluth, Ga.) went the distance for the win, allowing four earned runs on 14 hits. The sophomore fanned 13 Brave batters while not walking a single one. The 13 whiffs are a career-best for Clark and the most for a Bobcat pitcher since Matt LaMothe (Troy, Mich.) fanned 14 against Clark Atlanta University Feb. 15.
"My slider was tough today and was a pleasant surprise," said Clark. "I just had to work on staying ahead of hitters."
The blowout started off tight early, as it took until the bottom of the fourth for either squad to plate any runs. UNCP broke the scoreless drought with a three-run inning.
The Braves had a pair of RBI singles and a run-scoring double in the rally, and held that lead until the sixth inning.
The floodgates opened with seven runs for the Bobcats in the sixth, started by a two-run single from Ikaika Anderson (Austell, Ga.) with the bases loaded. Jake Sandlin's (Evans, Ga.) two-run triple gave Georgia College its first lead a batter later. When the dust settled, the Bobcats had seven runs on seven hits and a 7-3 lead.
Not content, Georgia College added a run in the seventh on an error, then five more in the eighth, the big blow a grand slam to right center from Sandlin. He finished 2-for-6 with six RBI, tying for second-most runs batted in during a PBC Tournament contest.
Anderson had three RBI and two runs on a single hit, while first baseman Clay Ardeeser (Loganville, Ga.) continued to mash the ball around the yard, adding a 3-for-6 effort with a double, RBI and run scored. Designated hitter Cody Maas (Alpharetta, Ga.) also was 3-for-6 driving in a run, and third baseman Jeremy Donaldson (Winder, Ga.) hit 4-for-5, scoring three times. All-PBC shortstop Daniel Bick (Alpharetta, Ga.) added two hits in five trips as well.
Clark improved to 5-1 on the season with his longest outing, throwing 131 pitches, an even 100 going for strikes. The lefty gives the Bobcats three complete games in their three wins this week at the PBC tourney.
The Bobcats advance to the PBC title game for the first time since 2006, when they lost to Columbus State University 8-4. The Bobcats have played in four PBC Championship games all-time. Georgia College is in search of its first PBC Tournament Championship and the accompanying automatic bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Georgia College will take on the winner of Saturday's CSU/University of Montevallo matchup, set for a 3 p.m. first pitch. The title game will come Sunday, May 12 at 1 p.m.
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 www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.