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Three and a half years ago Micah Baumfeld took over the reigns as head coach for Georgetown College baseball. In that time the No. 7 Tigers have won its first ever Mid-South Conference tournament, been ranked the highest it has ever been (7th), stayed in the rankings consistently and Saturday claimed its first-ever regular season title.
"It is a bit unreal, but these guys work hard all year long and this has been our goal," Baumfeld said. "It is extra special to do this on senior day and make it one more memory for so many guys who have made this transition possible."
Clay Hall and Shaun Meyer, two of the Tigers stacked pitching rotation, are two seniors that were instrumental in both the tournament crown and now the regular season title. Javier Saenz, Brett Smith, Justin Moore and Martin Lemus joined in 2013 and helped the team win its first game in the new national tournament format. Edwin Santiago came this year as a pitching and hitting threat.
After a back and forth battle Friday, GC took care of business with a 13-6 win highlighted by several home runs including a grand slam from Santiago.
"Edwin came to us this year as a pitcher, so he hasn't been hitting much," Baumfeld said. "However, we knew he could swing the bat. Recently he's been getting a bit more work there and today it really paid off."
The game had see-sawed back and forth with Georgetown up 8-5 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Lemus started a two-out rally when Campbellsville dropped his long fly ball. Steven Mancilla singled. Armando Lomeli walked. Rick Reyes was hit by a pitch to push in Lemus, setting the stage for Santiago. He took a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right and gave GC a 13-5 edge.
"This season we knew we had a great hitting team, but our pitching staff has really carried us a lot, holding games down until our bats come through," Baumfeld said. "This weekend we didn't have our best pitching, give credit to some really great hitting from Campbellsville, but our offense really woke up. That grand slam really put us ahead comfortably against a really good team."
Coming into the weekend GC's pitching rotation had a combine 2.20 ERA for 37 games – first in the nation.
Ace Tyler Arthur was at 1.11 and Meyer is second this season at 2.36. Baumfeld's other weekend pitcher, Brain Barry had a 2.63 ERA. The team has struck out 232 through those 37 games and opposing hitters are averaging .232 batting against the Tigers.
"It is a goal of ours every year to be a top pitching team," Baumfeld said.
Lemus, who had a home run called back in Friday's dramatic game, left nothing to chance in the first inning Saturday. With two outs the senior tagged the scoreboard in left for an early 2-0 lead.
Campbellsville responded hanging a four spot in the top of the second, but GC did not let that last long. In the bottom of the second, Georgetown scored four of its own including three with two outs. CU made it a 6-5 game with a run in the top of the third, but the home team was not satisfied with how close it was and put two up itself.
Reyes started with a single. Santiago, Trey Gross and Moore all got hit by a pitch to bring in Reyes. With two outs, GC pushed the eighth run across as a wild pitch brought in Santiago.
Both teams settled into a more defensive game after Santiago's blast, but when Campbellsville was facing its final three outs it pushed across a final run in effort to close the gap.
Hall, Smith and Saenz threw the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Hall came out first and went one and a third innings, giving up two hits and walking one. Smith pitched the eighth and allowed just one hit. Saenz finished it off with two hits.
Moore went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Santiago was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Lemus was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored and three walks. Mancilla went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Lomeli was 2-for-4. Gross and Reyes also had hits.
Helping to make the day special was Georgetown's 24th president and former college baseball player Dr. M. Dwaine Greene. He threw out the first pitch to start Senior Day off right.
In an interesting twist, Georgetown won the tournament championship on Campbellsville's field in 2012 and then took the regular season title playing Campbellsville this weekend.