ST. LOUIS – One of the top sluggers in program history is going to get his chance to compete at the next level, as Georgia College Baseball's Brandon Benson (Loganville, Georgia) was nabbed in the 20th round by the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday.
"This is a very proud day for our top-notch baseball program," said GC head coach Jason Eller. "Brandon goes in a category with our program's great draft picks of the past and we are thrilled to watch him start his path to the big leagues. We are excited for the St. Louis Cardinals organization, because they are getting one of the best baseball players in the country."
A consensus First Team All-American, Benson hit .395 with 22 home runs, 79 RBIs and 74 runs scored in the 2017 season. The consensus Region Player of the Year and Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Player of the Year, he also tallied an .819 slugging percentage and .464 on-base percentage. The two-time All-PBC shortstop ended his career on a 17-game hit streak and boasted 22 multi-RBI games on the season, including seven with four RBIs or more. Benson was named a finalist for both the Tino Martinez Award for DII Player of the Year and the Josh Willingham Award for DII Most Valuable Player.
Benson was the 604th pick overall, as now GC Baseball has had 17 student-athletes all-time chosen in the MLB Draft. The senior shortstop is the first draftee for the Bobcats since catcher Richard Pirkle (2008-11) in 2011, and the highest-round choice since pitcher Andrew Reichard (2007) went in the 13th in 2007.
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 @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.