Georgia College took an early two-run lead over USC Aiken, but the Pacers did the biggest damage late with three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a walkoff 6-5 win over the Bobcats in the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament at Mount Olive.
The No. 6-seed Bobcats (35-14) fell to the losers’ bracket and will play Lincoln Memorial, beaten 4-1 by North Georgia, at 11 a.m. on Friday. The No. 3-seed and 17th-ranked Pacers (40-13) advance to face North Georgia.
"It's a tough loss for our guys; we played really well, but got stagnant offensively," said head coach Jason Eller. "We had some opportunities late and didn't take advantage, but I'm proud of the efforts of our student-athletes and the way we competed."
The Bobcats started hot, scoring twice in the first on a sacrifice fly from Logan Mattix and an RBI single from Wesley Wommack. USC Aiken answered with three in the first, including a pair of RBI singles.
The Bobcats wasted little time getting back in front, when a double from Brandon Benson one-hopped the fence in left-center with the bases loaded to score three. Then the pitchers took over.
Bobcats starter Brady Walsh tossed five straight scoreless frames after allowing the three-spot in the first. Counterpart Joseph Benitez added four blank innings himself before handing the game to reliever Nick Yobbi. The righty finished the game with three scoreless innings to get the win (5-3).
Grant Khan, the third of four Georgia College pitchers, got the loss.
With the Bobcats up 5-3 headed to the bottom of the ninth, a hit batsman was followed by a clutch two-run, game-tying home run from third baseman Daulton Weeks. Pinch hitter Jonathan Banks followed with a single and was on third two outs later.
Luke Westerberg lined a single up the middle for the win.
Third baseman Cal Gentry (Perry) went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs. Wommack added two hits of his own and an RBI.