Goss homers as UNCG Spartans win SoCon Tourney and earn NCAA berth
It required an extra game in the finals, but Michael Goss and the UNC-Greensboro Spartans captured the Southern Conference Championship Tournament title Sunday afternoon with a 13-1 win over Furman.
The 4th-seeded Paladins, who entered the finals with one loss in the double-elimination tournament, won the first game of the finals’ matchup earlier on Sunday, 6-4.
Goss, a former Cartersville Hurricanes and Chattanooga State CC first baseman, saved one of his best plate performances of the year for the final game of the tournament played at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC.
The redshirt senior hit a two-run homer to put the Spartans up 2-0 in the first inning and drove in two more runs with singles in the third and seventh frames. Goss, who was named to the SoCon Championship All-Tournament Team also scored two runs and finished 3-for-4 in the game.
In the championship round opener earlier on Sunday, Goss was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. He was 3-for-14 in the first three games of the tournament with two runs, three RBIs, and a walk. Goss will enter the NCAA Regionals with a .320 batting average, 8 home runs, and 52 RBIs in 53 games with 194 at-bats.
Another former Cartersville Hurricanes standout, Jo Jo Underwood did not see action in the SoCon Tournament for the Spartans but has been a key contributor all season with a .314 batting average, two homers, and nine RBIs in 51 at-bats across 25 games seeing time at both catcher and third base.
Third-seeded UNCG (35-22) had tournament wins over Samford (6-3), East Tennessee State (6-4), and Furman (12-8) to reach the finals without a loss.
Furman had wins over Wofford (13-3), top-seeded Mercer (11-6), and East Tennessee State to reach the championship round.
UNC-Greensboro is now an automatic qualifier for one of the NCAA Regionals. The Spartans will likely be a 4-seed and face one of the national seeds in their first game, but that announcement will come on Memorial Day. The tournament title is a first-ever for the UNCG program and the Spartans will be making their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1997.
The full NCAA tournament field will be announced on ESPN2 Monday at 12 noon.