Heading into the NCAA postseason, Columbus State was seen as Georgia’s second best Division II club, behind Georgia College (who, after being ranked #1 nationally and winning the PBC title, fizzled out quickly, dropping two of three in the regional). They were on the brink of elimination in the NCAA regionals as they headed to the losers’ bracket and having to face the #2 team in the nation (and regional host), North Greenville. After taking that game, they would have to turn some heads and win two straight vs. the team that placed them in the losers’ bracket.
They would do just that as they would claim the NCAA Southeastern regional — and the team that was often seen as second best in the state, would be the only surviving team from Georgia advancing to the College World Series. Make no mistake — this team is no fluke. They’re 47-13 overall to this point, including a 20-9 conference record. They’ve shutout some of the best teams in the nation as of late, but they’ve gotten a lot hotter at the perfect time, outscoring opponents 50-23 this postseason (NCAA regionals and College World Series), including 14-1 in the first two games of the College World Series.
Being viewed as somewhat of an underdog from the onset, the Cougars would enter Cary, NC on Sunday, facing Mercyhurst. The Cougs would get out to an early 2-0 lead in the first and would never look back, tacking on three in the fourth, two in the sixth, and one in the eighth to win by a final of 8-1. Pitching was phenomonal as Columbus State’s Kolton Ingram would throw eight innings of shutout baseball, improving his overall record to an impressive 13-3. He would give up just four hits and two walks while striking out ten and allowing zero to score. Three Cougars would drive in multiple runs — including Grant Berry, Chase Brown, and Drew Webb — each driving in two of Columbus State’s eight runs.
Good pitching has been a consistent theme for CSU this postseason and that held true in game two as they would shutout UC San Diego by a final of 6-0. Perez Knowles would throw seven innings of three hit baseball while walking four and striking out seven. The bullpen would limit UC San Diego to just one hit in the final two innings, completing the shutout. DH Chase Brown would have a big game for the Cougars, going 2-for-4 while driving in three of the six Columbus State runs. It was also a stellar day at the plate for Garrett Kirkwood, the centerfielder, who went 3-for-5 out of the two hole with one RBI.
Columbus State has an off day today and will face the winner of Florida Southern and Texas A&M-Kingsville (out of the losers’ bracket) on Thursday, May 31st at 3pm. The Cougars would need to win just one game vs. the winner of that matchup in order to advance to the College World Series finals. Since the winner of the losers’ bracket contest already has one loss, they would have to defeat Columbus State in two consecutive games to advance.
The Division II College World Series National Championship is slated to begin on Friday, June 1st in Cary, NC. The final round is a best-of-three series. We’ll keep you posted on the latest regarding Columbus State’s run in the College World Series right here on PeachtreePennant.com.