Bader, Powell Power Pirates Into PBC Baseball Championship Game
COLUMBUS, Ga. - Sophomore Ethan Bader hurled a four-hitter and sophomore Cody Powell delivered a key three-run home run to lead the No. 11-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad into the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game with a 5-1 win over No. 6 Francis Marion on Saturday afternoon at Golden Park.
The top seed in the East Division, Armstrong (39-14) will face either Lander or USC Aiken in Sunday's 1 o'clock championship game. The champion receives the PBC's automatic berth into next week's NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament. The Pirates, making their third appearance in the championship game, captured the tournament crown in 2007. Francis Marion (37-16), the second seed in the East Division, will await a possible at-large bid into the regional tournament.
Ethan Bader (11-4) threw just 98 pitches - 71 for strikes - in the four-hit complete game, striking out 10, walking one and allowing just one earned run.
FMU's Jeremy Knab (0-1) suffered the loss after striking out two, walking five and allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits in five innings. The Patriots' Knab, Justin Turbeville, Will Chandler and Tyler Smith combined for the three-hitter.
Tyler Boyd gave Francis Marion the early 1-0 lead in the third inning with a solo home run over the left field wall.
The Pirates took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the inning when, with bases loaded,Drew Walker's sacrifice fly plated Tanner Jones and Will Thomas scored on a fielding error.
Armstrong's Cody Powell prevented the Patriots from tying the game in the top of the sixth inning when he caught Brock McCallister's fly ball in right field and gunned down Brian Paulhus at the plate on the sacrifice fly attempt for the third out.
Powell then put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth inning when he stroked a three-run homer over the left field wall for his sixth home run of the season and the Pirates' final runs.
FMU's Paulhus was the only player with multiple hits with two. Powell finished the game with the home run and three RBIs for the Pirates while Clayton Miller added a double.