Mountain Lions tame No. 8 Cougars 9-8 for Peach Belt Tournament title
By Michael MacEachern
Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Communications
COLUMBUS, Ga. | Noah Fitzgerald's two-run single in the sixth inning broke up a tie game as Young Harris College defeated No. 8 Columbus State University 9-8 in the Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament championship game Sunday (May 15) afternoon at Burger King Stadium at Ragsdale Field.
The Mountain Lions (38-17) won their second PBC Tournament title in three seasons and earned the Peach Belt's automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament that begins Thursday (May 19). The tournament field will be revealed at 10 p.m. tonight on ncaa.com. The Cougars (42-11) should earn an at-large berth to the tournament.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE:
YHC took a 1-0 lead in the first on Rome Wallace's RBI ground out.
Columbus State took a 3-1 lead with a run in the second and two more in the third before Young Harris retook the lead 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth on Aaron Copeland's grand slam to left. It was his fifth homer of the season.
The Mountain Lions made it 7-4 with two more runs in the fifth. Steven Spell drove in the first with a bases-loaded walk after the Cougars had intentionally walked Wallace to load the bases. Mark Castle added a sacrifice fly to left.
The Cougars tied the game at 7 with three runs in the sixth before Fitzgerald's two-run single up the middle gave the Mountain Lions the lead for good at 9-7.
Fitzgerald was named the tournament's MVP after going 7-for-15 in three games with three home runs, 10 RBI and six runs scored. Nate Lamb, who earned the win in YHC's 16-3 win over Columbus State Friday (May 13), and Ethan Underwood were named to the All-Tournament team.
Underwood, Fitzgerald and Jackson Jones had two hits each, while Copeland drove in fur and Fitzgerald added 2 RBI.
Reliever Dylan Beck (6-1) earned the win as he allowed two runs and struck out three in 3.2 innings. Travis Burnette earned his third save of the season by retiring the final batter of the game.