Four local D-I baseball players and their teams completed play in their respective conference championship tournaments this week, while another gets started this weekend at the NAIA World Series.
Michael Goss and Jo Jo Underwood, along with their UNC-Greensboro teammates won one of three games at the Southern Conference Championship Tournament this week.
Robert Harris made an appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament for Troy, and Connor Justus and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets await their NCAA Tournament fate after dropping three of four games in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Meanwhile, relief pitcher Ty Fowler and the Tennessee Wesleyan College Bulldogs are in Lewiston, Idaho for the NAIA World Series.
Here’s the latest ‘Athletes Beyond Bartow’ college baseball update.
TY FOWLER — Tennessee Wesleyan College (Jr., Cartersville HS) . . .TWC opens play in the NAIA World Series May 28 in Lewiston, Idaho against ninth-seeded Sterling College. The Bulldogs (48-13) are the No. 2 seed in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament that continues through June 3. Fowler has made nine appearances on the season with a 1-0 record, 15 strikeouts, and a 2.45 ERA.
MICHAEL GOSS — UNC-Greensboro (Jr., Cartersville HS) . . . homered, had a sacrifice fly, and went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the Spartans’ Southern Conference Tournament finale’ and 15-10 loss to Furman May 27 in Greenville, SC. He added a hit and a sacrifice in a 9-6 tournament win over Wofford College May 26. UNCG went 1-2 in the conference tournament. Goss hit .311 for the season in 45 starts. He hit four home runs and had 20 extra base hits with 29 RBI. The Spartans finished the regular season and conference tournament play with a 38-21 mark.
ROBERT HARRIS — Troy University (Jr., Adairsville HS) . . .worked the ninth inning of a loss to Texas State in the Trojans’ Sun Belt Conference Tournament opener in San Marcos, TX on May 25. Troy lost to the host Bobcats, 11-6. Harris was touched for four earned runs on four hits. In an elimination game the following day, Troy (33-26) built an eight run lead through four innings, but was edged by Arkansas State, 13-12, when the Red Wolves scored three times in the bottom of the ninth. Harris appeared in relief in 22 games in 2016. He pitched 34 innings and struck out 31 with a 6.88 ERA.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Georgia Tech (Jr., Cartersville HS) . . . completed the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC going 3-for-14 in four games. The Yellow Jackets defeated Boston College in a play-in game May 24, but lost all three pool-play games May 25-27 to Miami, Florida State, and NC State. Justus walked four times and was hit by a pitch for a team-leading 12th time this season during the tournament. His hits included a double and he scored a pair of runs. Justus has a .332 batting average and he has started all 59 games at shortstop. He has six home runs and 24 extra base hits for a .502 slugging percentage and 36 RBI. His on-base percentage is a team-high .454 and his defensive fielding percentage is .950 in 278 chances. Georgia Tech also leads the nation in double plays turned. The Yellow Jackets (36-23) will learn their NCAA postseason fate on Monday during the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show beginning at 12 p.m. on ESPNU.
JO JO UNDERWOOD — University of North Carolina-Greensboro (Jr., Cartersville HS) . . . had a plate appearance and played third base in a pair of Southern Conference Tournament games May 26 and 27. The Spartans won one of three games in the conference tournament. He appeared in 30 games and had a pair of hits, a sacrifice fly, and was hit by a pitch in 18 plate appearances during the 2016 season. Utilized often in late innings defensively at third base or catcher, Underwood committed only one error in 33 defensive chances on the year for a .970 fielding percentage. The Spartans finished the regular season and conference tournament play with a 38-21 record.