LAKEPOINT. Ga. -- The Tigers 2017 season ended last Friday with a 5-2 loss to ABAC in the semi-finals of the GCAA Baseball Tournament, but the inspired run of the struggling #6 seed in the tourney catapaulted the Tigers to a personal single season high for wins for Head Coach Blake Williams with 28, earned their first win in the GCAA playoffs since 2005, and recorded the 3rd most wins for a Tiger team in school history.
The Tigers entered the tournament having dropped ten straight to end the regular season and had to open the tourney against the #3 seed, ABAC, but the Tigers quickly returned to mid season form. Andrew hopped out to an early lead, picking up a run in the bottom of the 1st inning on an RBI double from Mike Branche, a pair of runs in the 3rd on RBI singles from Spencer Nelson and Collin Chambers, then a massive 3-run homer from Branche in the 4th to open a six run lead, which was all Brandon Brown needed as he tossed a complete game, picking up his team-leading 5th win of the season, scattering 7 hits and striking out 2 in the 7-1 win.
The victory kept Andrew in the winners bracket, and they ran into a buzz saw, falling 10-0 to #2 seed and eventual tournament winner Ga. Highlands College. The loss dropped the Tigers into the losers bracket, where they would have to take on regular season champ and #1 seed East Ga. State in an elimination game. Roman Oliu started for the Tigers and stymied the Bobcats from the start, locking into a pitching duel with East Ga. starter Taber Raley for 6 innings, before Nelson doubled in two runs in the top of the 7th inning to open the scoring. Oliu stayed unblemished until the bottom of the 9th inning, where after a long visit from pitching coach Zac Cole, was able to work out of the one out jam, allowing just a single unearned run, and ending the game with his 6th strikeout. Oliu allowed just 6 hits in the complete game and picked up his 4th win of the year.
With rain approaching on Friday, the GCAA pushed all games up several hours, and combined with the late finish the previous night, the Tigers were back on the field for a 1:00 pm game, which was their third game in less than 24 hrs., and it showed, as they managed just 3 hits and 2 runs against an ABAC team they had beaten 4 out of 5 games this season, and ended the Tigers season.
Branche and Oliu were named to the All-Tournament Team. Click HERE for the complete list.