By Michael Hokanson, Sports Information Assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. –Georgia College Baseball (15-12) took the first of a three-game series with Rollins College (15-12) 10-6 Thursday night. The Bobcats brought in all of their runs in the first half of the game, but thanks to a strong defense, held the lead through the end.
Bobcat shortstop Brandon Benson (Loganville) was a titan with a bat tonight, bringing in seven of the team's 10 runs in two home runs. In the third inning, Benson stepped to the plate for his second at-bat of the game. The ball screamed as he sent it over the head of the Rollins left fielder over the fence, bringing in three runs. Just one inning later, Benson smashed the ball past to left a second time, plating four runs for a grand slam.
Rollins gained an early lead when, after an error from the Bobcats, one of the Tars scored from a sac fly to right field. The Bobcats matched the Tars and tied the game in the first inning. After blocking the Tars from scoring, a sac fly from Garrett Green (Bogart) ended the short-lived tie. Three Rollins batters came to the plate and were immediately sent back to the dugout in the third before a single from Tanner Giesel (Naperville, Illinois) and Benson's initial home run extended the Bobcats' lead even further. The Tars began to recover, bringing in two runs, but their hopes of gaining the lead were shattered by Benson's fourth-inning grand slam. The Bobcats did not put up any more runs before the end of the game, but the Tars added one in the sixth and a final pair in the ninth. However, the Bobcats' early lead remained and they ended the night with a 10-6 win.
Benson led the team in RBIs with seven from his two home runs. Benson, Giesel, and Brandon Purcell (Glennville) rounded out the teams score with a single RBI apiece. Benson finished 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double, seven RBIs and three runs scored. Rightfielder Matthew Miller (Escondido, California), second baseman Dylan Cook (Portola Valley, California) and Purcell had two hits each.
Georgia College's pitching was on point throughout the game. Starter Jonathan McKinney (Marietta) took the mound for the first four innings where he gave up only three hits and racked up five strikeouts. Reliever Cameron Busby (Grovetown), who was tagged with the win, improved his record to 5-2 after striking out two Tar batters and giving up just one run. Closer Bradley Spinner (Roswell) finished the game with a single strikeout and just two hits.
The Bobcats and the Tars will continue this week's series tomorrow, March 25, for game two beginning at 3 p.m.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on social media for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.