Georgia State beats UNCW for CAA Baseball Championship
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WILMINGTON, N.C. – Georgia State rallied from an 8-3 deficit behind the strong relief pitching of sophomore Theo Asher and four hits by senior Marc Mimeault to knock off UNC Wilmington, 12-10, to win the Colonial Athletic Association championship and the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament at Brooks Field on Saturday. The Panthers, who swept through the tournament and extended their winning streak to eight, improved to 39-20 with the win while the Seahawks fell to 31-23. It was the first conference title for the program and its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. Asher (1-2) gave GSU a tremendous effort out of the bullpen to earn the win. He held the Seahawks in check over 3 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and a walk. During that span, GSU plated four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead, 11-8. Justin Malone earned his seventh save with two innings of hitless relief. Freshman Ryan Walker (1-1) took the loss for the Seahawks, walking the only two batters he faced and both scored. After waling just one batter total in two games on Friday, UNCW issued eight walks on the afternoon. Mimeault and freshman Brandon Williams combined for seven of GSU’s 13 hits on the game. Mimeault knocked in two runs and Williams added three, including two in his second homer of the season. Tournament Most Valuable Player Bradley Logan homered for the fourth straight game and finished with three RBI. UNCW juniors Grayson Evans and Ben Thielsen keyed the Seahawks from the top and bottom of the lineup, respectively. Both finished with three hits and Thielsen scored three times. Junior Bobby Leeper had two runs and drove in two runs. Thielsen and Leeper joined teammates Steven Davis and Cody Stanley on the all-tournament team. GSU starter Adam Knight struggled with his command to open the game, walking the first three batters to load the bases. Knight, though, induced a ground ball double play off the bat of Monday, but UNCW scored on the play to take a 1-0 lead. Knight issued his fourth walk of the inning and then hit junior Mike Rooney, the final batter he would face, to reload the bases with two out. Reliever John Locklear ended the inning getting junior Rhett Miller to ground out to first. Two singles and a walk to Stanley by Locklear loaded the bases in the top of the second for UNCW. A wild pitch plated the second run of the game and Locklear loaded the bases again with a free pass to junior Matt Holt. Locklear escaped further damage striking out junior Robbie Monday and sophomore Alex Hill lined out to right field. Logan made it 2-1 with a leadoff homer to right, his fourth of the tournament, in the bottom of the second. Five hits in the third plated three runs in the third and gave UNCW a 5-1 lead. A double by Rooney and an infield single by Miller put runners at the corners for the Seahawks to open the third. Leeper singled in Rooney to give UNCW a 3-0 lead with none out. After Miller was picked off by Mimeault at second for the first out, Thielsen singled through the right side sending Leeper around to third. Evans greeted reliever David Ferrer, the Panthers third pitcher in as many innings, with a two-run double off the wall in right center to push UNCW out to a 5-1 lead. The Panthers scored twice in the third to make it 5-3. Both runs came on a RBI single off the bat of Logan against sophomore reliever Justin Bradley. UNCW struck out three unearned runs in the fourth, building an 8-3 lead. Miller got the first run back with a RBI ground out and with two out, Thielsen and Evans had RBI singles. GSU scored four runs with two out in the fifth to make it a one-run game at 8-7. Mimeault started the outburst with a RBI single and Williams and Carlos Moniz followed with run scoring singles of their own. The final run came across on a throwing error. Asher tossed a perfect sixth to keep momentum on GSU’s side entering the bottom of the frame. In the GSU sixth, Derek Simmons drew a four-pitch leadoff walk and Chase Childers followed suit against freshman reliever Ryan Walker. Freshman reliever Tyler McSwain entered the game and Logan moved Simmons to third with a fly ball out. Matt Van Horn tied the game on a ground out to first. Mimeault gave GSU the lead with a single to right scoring Childers. Williams extended the lead to 11-8 with a two-run shot to right off McSwain. The Panthers continued to add to its lead in the seventh on a sacrifice fly. Freshman pinch hitter Andrew Cain and Leeper plated runs in the eighth to cut UNCW’s deficit to 12-10. Cain singled in Hill and Leeper’s RBI came on a fielder’s choice later in the inning. All-Tournament: Bradley Logan (MVP), Michael McCree (Ga. State), Marc Mimeault (Ga. State), Justine Malone (Ga. State), Ryan Moore (Ga. State), Bobby Leeper (UNCW), Ben Thielsen (UNCW), Cody Stanley (UNCW), Steven Davis (UNCW), Bill Merkler (Delaware), Shane Davis (George Mason). -Courtesy UNCW

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