Bobcats Sweep Columbus State in PBC Showdown

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Ben Grunert

The GC men’s baseball team hosted the Columbus State Cougars over the weekend in an important regular-season showdown. The home team swept the series with three big wins over their conference rivals.

The Bobcats began Friday with a 7-3 win before completing a doubleheader shutout on Saturday. They captured the second game in a gritty 9-6 victory before coming back to win the final game
in extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th inning, second baseman Cal Gentry had a walkoff hit to seal the 9-8 victory, capping off an impressive weekend for the Bobcats.

After a slow start to the weekend, Gentry had two hits and two runs in Game 2 before notching three hits and the game-winning RBI in Game 3. With his five base hits on Saturday, the fifth-year veteran passed Logan Mattix for the seventh-most hits in GC history with 280 total. He also sits at eight all-time in runs with 195.

“I actually walked off Columbus State in Game 3 in my freshman year, so it was kind of like a full circle for my final go-around with them,” Gentry said. “It was pretty surreal.”

The Game 3 marathon started off well for the Bobcats as they scored a few runs in their opening trip to the plate. Jay Saunders, who is batting a team-high .423 on the season, finished the first
inning with a single into left field that allowed teammate Cam Hill to score. Hill, the 2019 PBC Freshman of the Year, had a team-high three runs in the contest.

Some pitching struggles for GC allowed the visiting team back into the game as the Cougars scored four runs with just two base hits over the next two innings. However, the Bobcats responded well as they chipped away on both ends of the field. They eventually led 5-4 heading into the top of the eighth.

In an incredible turn of events, the Cougars suddenly regained the lead. With bases loaded, Columbus State catcher Robert Brooks cracked a huge home run to put the visitors up 8-5. After a scoreless at-bat for both teams, the Bobcats had one last chance to claw their way back. In the bottom of the ninth with one out, GC standout Cassius Young singled into center field and knocked in two Bobcat runs. Soon after, the Bobcats completed the comeback with a Noah Mendlinger single, leading to Hill’s third and final run of the day.

All tied up at 8-8, the PBC rivals went into extra innings. Each team held the other scoreless for two innings before returning freshman Baylin Moore scored off of a Gentry single into right field. The Bobcats finished off the electric 9-8 victory to send Columbus State packing without a win on the weekend.

“We were coming off of a tough loss against UNC Pembroke, so our backs were kind of against the wall,” said head coach Nolan Belcher. “We needed to come out and have a great weekend and I think we had a great week of practice and preparation. We were fortunate enough to win all three against a great Columbus State team.”

With the series sweep, the Bobcats move to 11-5 on the season as Columbus State falls to 9-6. GC now sits at third in the PBC standings, and they will look to build on their newest win streak when they face West Georgia on the road today, March 24.