Flowers aren't the only things bloomin' in Milledgeville right now.
Baseball and softball are smelling pretty good, too.
Georgia College's baseball team has rolled through the Peach Belt Conference tournament at Lander and is in the tournament championship, while the softball team is off to a nifty start at the NCAA Southeast 2 Regional at Lenoir-Rhyne.
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The baseball Bobcats have beaten Columbus State 8-5, Armstrong Atlantic 7-1 and UNC Pembroke 13-5. Columbus State may get another crack at Georgia College, but it has to beat Montevallo Saturday in an elimination game.
The softball Bobcats cruised into Hickory, N.C. and thumped Lenoir-Rhyne, seeded second overall in the Southeast region, 10-1.
The Georgia College baseball release:
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.
It's kind of amazing that Georgia College hasn't won a PBC tournament, as good as the program is.
But the Bobcats will have to win the tournament to get back to the NCAAs for the first time since the run to the College World Series in 2010. They're not ranked in the Southeast Region poll. UNCP was seventh.
GC softball cruises
Georgia College's softball team made a nifty statement in the Southeast 2 Region opener, hammering the home team and second seed.
Georgia College is now 37-15.
The Bobcats face sixth seed Anderson at 2 p.m. today/Saturday. Anderson (38-13) dumped third seed North Georgia 7-2. Win, and play at noon Sunday. Lose, and play at 7 Saturday night.
And the Georgia College release with details:
The No. 7-seed Georgia College softball team (37-15) came up successful on its trip to the NCAA Southeast Subregional for the first time since 2009, taking on host and No. 2-seed Lenoir-Rhyne University (35-15). The Bobcats started off the 2013 tournament with a bang, scoring multiple runs in innings four times and defeating the Bears by a score of 10-1.
The Bobcats got on the board early, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Freshman Taylor Campbell (Warner Robins, Ga.) supplied the highlight with her third home run of the year, scoring Whitney Okvist (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Abi LeRoy (Dublin, Ga.).
Senior Dani Gallucci (Orlando, Fla.) continued her impressive final campaign, scattering seven hits and only allowing one unearned run. The Bears pushed a run across in the bottom of the first, but Gallucci allowed just one runner past second base over the final six innings.
“After the first inning I settled in and was feeling really good,” said Gallucci. “I was hitting my spots really well and just felt really comfortable out there.”
While Gallucci held the Bears in check after the first inning, the Bobcat offense continued to put runs on the board, scoring multiple runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings.
Gallucci helped drive the offense also, finishing the game 3-for-4, scoring a run and knocking in three, highlighted by a two-run home run in the top of the seventh.
Campbell finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and LeRoy was 1-for-3 at the plate while knocking in two.
The Bobcats bats tallied 12 hits, four walks, and had another two runners reach via error.
“I’m really proud of our team,” said head coach Jamie Grodecki. “Sometimes we don’t always know who’s going to have the big hit, but we seem to have someone come through. We always win as a team.”
Each region is split into two. L-R is the top seed at its regional, with Armstrong Atlantic the overal Southeast top seed.
Elsewhere, Valdosta State nipped Albany State 5-4 Friday in the South 1 Regional, and then beat Tampa 5-3 Saturday morning in nine innings to improve to 43-10 advance to the championship at 1 on Sunday.
ASU faces St. Leo at 12:30 on Saturday.
Columbus State and Armstrong Atlantic won on Friday to set up another PBC meeting Saturday, won 2-0 by Columbus State.