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Day 2 Recap: Down 5, GGC Rallies to Stay Alive
May 14, 2014
The Georgia Gwinnett baseball team rallied from a 7-2 seventh-inning deficit to hang on and defeat Westmont (Calif.), 9-8, to survive in the Lawrenceville Bracket, highlighting day two action of the 2014 NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round at the Grizzly Baseball Complex Tuesday.
The top-seeded and host Grizzlies (49-11) used a six-run eighth inning to eliminate the Warriors (39-19) and advance to Wednesday’s elimination contest against St. Francis (Ill.)
It stands as GGC’s first-ever win in an NAIA postseason event in any sport.
In other action Tuesday in Lawrenceville, Southeastern (Fla.) (46-14) moved on to the championship round by defeating St. Francis (38-21) by a 7-0 margin.
In the first game of the day, Westmont pulled out a 12-inning 6-5 victory over William Woods (39-12) to eliminate the Owls.
Wednesday’s Game 7 between GGC and USF is set for 1 p.m. ET. The winner advances to play SEU at 4:30.
Game 6- Georgia Gwinnett 9, Westmont 8
The Grizzlies stared down a 7-2 deficit with two outs in the seventh inning, but scored once in the seventh and six times in the eighth to surge in front. Reliever Zeke McGranahan (3-2) struck out four batters over the final two innings and stranded the bases loaded in the ninth to keep the Grizzlies’ season alive.
William Barring’s 4-for-5 effort at the plate was not enough for Westmont, as reliever Hunter Christensen (3-3) suffered the defeat.
The Warriors got on the board in the first inning with a leadoff triple and an RBI single.
Bates singled and tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI groundout from Robbie Payne.
Westmont jumped back ahead with a four-run second inning, highlighted by a two-run triple from Chris Stroh, to take a 5-1 lead.
The Grizzlies pushed one run across in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single from Christian Van Camp.
The Warriors used two hit batsmen in the fourth to add two more runs and claim a 7-2 advantage.
Neither team scored in the fifth or sixth innings, and the Grizzlies began their rally in the seventh. Van Camp belted a two-out triple and William Paschal followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to make it 7-3.
McGranahan entered in the eighth inning and struck out the side to help keep the Grizzlies within striking distance.
The deciding inning would be a six-run bottom of the eighth where GGC sent 11 batters to the plate and strung together six hits.
Fields and Payne both singled to start it all off. A walk to Pat Long loaded the bases and Strickland singled to left to drive in a run. With one out, Van Camp hit a sac fly to center, bringing GGC within two at 7-5. With two outs, Jereid Woods doubled to left field to score pinch runner Kyle Norton to make it a one-run game. Pinch hitter Ty Abbott was hit to load the bases once more and Bates singled to right to tie the game, 7-7. Fields then delivered the go-ahead infield single that scored runners from second and third on a close play at first base to put GGC on top, 9-7.
In Westmont’s turn in the ninth inning, the first two Warrior batters reached. After McGranahan got two flyouts, a single to left-center by Brent Fukushima brought in a run to make it 9-8. With the bases later loaded after an infield single, McGranahan struck out Rudy Leon looking on the outside corner to put the game away.
The Grizzlies must now win Wednesday against St. Francis to advance to the championship round later in the day.
Game 4- Westmont 6, William Woods 5 (12 innings)
The Warriors plated the first run of the game in the top of the second inning and the Owls answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning on a sac fly.
Westmont took the lead again on an RBI single in the third, but a triple and a balk brought in the tying run for the Owls again in the bottom of the frame.
The Warriors scored on a bases-loaded double play to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth, and added one more run in the sixth on a sacrifice bunt to make it 4-2.
An RBI single by William Woods in the seventh made it 4-3, but one in the eighth from Westmont pushed the lead back to two runs at 5-3.
In the bottom of the inning, the Owls loaded the bases on a trio of singles. With two outs, Damon Adrian tied the game with a single back up the middle to score two runs.
Each team threatened in the ninth inning, but neither could push across the winning score against its opponent’s reliever. The same held true throughout the first two extra innings.
In the top of the 12th, after a defensive error kept the inning alive, Brandon Gildea belted a two-out single into right-center to score Chris Stroh to push Westmont ahead for good, 6-5.
Game 5- Southeastern 7, St. Francis 0
Fire starter Andres Cancio went eight shutout innings and Bryan Muniz went 4-for-4 at the plate to lead Southeastern into the championship round.
Neither team scored over the first three innings.
The Fighting Saints loaded the bases in the fourth with a pair of singles and a walk, but an inning-ending double play up the middle kept the game scoreless.
Southeastern got the bats going in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair runs on three hits.
The Fire then added another run in the sixth, three more in the seventh and one final score in the eighth to complete the offensive effort.
St. Francis was only outhit 10-9, but stranded 10 baserunners in their first loss of the tournament.