FLORENCE, SC – Georgia College scored five runs early and were cruising with a 6-0 lead before UNC Pembroke scored five in the bottom of the eighth, creating a dramatic finish for the Bobcats as they held on to win the PBC Baseball Tournament on Saturday in Florence. The Bobcats took the title 6-5, their third championship in the last five years.
With the win, Georgia College (35-13) takes the PBC's automatic bid to next week's NCAA Tournament. UNC Pembroke (40-15), who was ranked #5 in the most recent NCAA regional poll, should receive an at-large bid. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Sunday night.
The Bobcats got two runs in the very first inning, a leadoff single from Cal Gentry an RBI triple from Brandon Benson and a sacrifice fly from Logan Mattix. Benson singled home the third run in the second, then the Bobcats got two more in the fourth on an error and another Mattix sacrifice fly. The final run came across in the seventh on another UNCP error.
UNC Pembroke starter Kyle Ramsey (L, 4-3) started the fourth inning but did not record an out. Reliever Hank Simpson made his second long relief appearance of the tournament, going 6.0 innings and allowing three hits, one unearned run and struck out six with no walks.
GC starter Kane Keith (W, 2-0) scattered nine hits and kept the powerful UNCP lineup in check until the bottom of the eighth.
UNCP's Roberto Rivera and Jarratt Mobley had back-to-back singles to start the eighth, followe by a walk to Aleman Saba to load the bases. Keith was lifted for closer Grant Khan, but Khan's first pitch went to the backstop, scoring the first run. A Nick Debo sac fly scored the second run and Drew Beaver doubled, brining in two more. Nick Salisbury capped the scoring with an RBI groundout.
Khan recorded only one out before being lifted for Brady Walsh (S, 2). Walsh closed out the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth to get the save.
Benson was named the Tournament MVP after going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. He also made several key defensive plays at shortstop. Clayten Ayers was 2-for-5 and Gentry 2-for-5 for the Bobcats.
UNC Pembroke was led by five players who collected two hits each, including Salsibury who was named to the All-Tournament team. Rivera, Mobley, Beaver and Luke Jackson were the others.
2017 PBC Baseball
Daniel McCrary, North Georgia
Cole Ondrejka, Flagler
River Ryan, UNC Pembroke
Nick Salisbury, UNC Pembroke
Hank Simpson, UNC Pembroke
Kane Keith, Georgia College
Brandon Purcell, Georgia College
Brandon Benson, Georgia College