Offense shines as LMU upsets Georgia College

Published 2:21 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

TIGERVILLE, S.C. — Ace Ethan Elliott quieted the Georgia College offense with a dazzling complete game and the Lincoln Memorial bats shelled NCBWA Southeast Region Pitcher of the Year Charlie Hecht as the seventh-seeded Railsplitters (36-19) opened the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional with a 9-4 upset win over the No. 6 nationally-ranked and second-seeded Bobcats (43-11) on Thursday afternoon at Ashmore Park.

Lincoln Memorial, which matched the 1996 team for the program single-season wins record and moved to 13-2 over its last 15 games, advanced to the winners bracket to face Belmont Abbey at 7 p.m. on Friday night with the victory.

The Bobcats entered Thursday’s NCAA tournament opener leading the nation in batting average, hits and runs while averaging 9.2 runs per game, the fourth-highest output in Division II. But Elliott kept Georgia College completely in check by holding the high-powered attack to just 11 hits – eight singles – and four earned runs while striking out 10 and walking just one.

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The NCBWA All-Southeast Region second team selection tossed 134 pitches in his third complete game and moved to 10-3 on the season to become the first player in program history with two 10-win campaigns.

While Elliott flourished, Hecht, who was tabbed as the NCBWA Southeast Region Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, endured his shortest outing of the season as the Railsplitters piled up seven hits and five earned runs to chase the righty from the game after just 2 2/3 innings of work. He suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 11-1 overall.

Seth Hunt went 3-for-5 with two RBI, a double and a run scored, Will Reddick drove in three runs with three singles, and Dalton Dedas reached in all four plate appearances with three singles, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Tyler Adams homered for the third time in four games as part of a 2-for-4 performance. Mason Ewers also added two hits with a double and an RBI.

Two-out hitting helped the Railsplitters jump all over the Bobcats, particularly in the five-run second inning.

Hunt got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second and advanced to second on the throw home. In the very next at-bat, Reddick drove in a pair with a dribbler back up the middle. Adams then capped the five-run frame with a two-run blast – his team-leading 12th of the season – over the left centerfield wall.

Another two-out rally sent Hecht to the showers in the third inning. Joe Stucky worked an eight-pitch walk to extend the inning and set the stage for Dedas, who drove a single back up the middle to extend the lead to 6-0. Hunt plated another run in the next at-bat off of reliever Kyle King to cap the two-run frame.

A two-out hit again pushed a run across for the Railsplitters in the fourth. Adams drew a leadoff walk in the inning and scored on Ewers’ two-out double that cleared the centerfielder’s head. Chris Salvey, who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning, was thrown out trying to score from first to prevent LMU from doing any further damage in the inning.

The Bobcats finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth as Brandon Purcell walked and Logan Mattix doubled to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Both runners scored on RBI groundouts but that was the extent of Georgia College’s output that inning.

Lincoln Memorial erased one of those runs on an RBI single from Reddick in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 9-2.

The Bobcats added a run in the sixth on a RBI double from Brandt Stallings and another in the seventh on a bases-loaded wild pitch, but Elliott worked out of jams in both of those frames to keep the home team from gaining any momentum.

Elliott retired the last seven batters he faced following the run-scoring wild pitch to complete the wire-to-wire victory.

Purcell led Georgia College with a 3-for-3 effort that included a pair of runs. Mattix accounted for two of the team’s three doubles, while Matthew Miller finished 2-for-5 with a run in the loss.