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GGC opens softball complex with a pair of losses Wednesday

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Georgia Gwinnett College's softball team finally had its first home game, a doubleheader against No. 14 USC-Beaufort on Wednesday.

The complex is located adjacent to the baseball complex and Athletics building just inside the GGC main entrance off Collins Hill Road.

After 40 games, 12 of which were played at Collins Hill's softball field, the Grizzlies played their first home game in the state-of-the-art softball complex that even had opposing coaches in awe.

"I was talking to USC-Beaufort's head coach before the game and all he could say was 'Wow' at our complex," said GGC head coach Kat Ihlenburg. "That's a major compliment coming from a nationally ranked team."

The grand opening of the field was nice for the Grizzlies, but things didn't go so well after that.

In the first game of the doubleheader, USC-Beaufort scored four runs in the first and seventh innings, en route to a 10-1 win.

GGC's lone run came on an RBI sac fly by Heaven Hinton.

The second game went much better, but ended with the same result.

USC-Beaufort (35-3) jumped out to a 4-0 lead with two runs in the first and fourth innings.

However, GGC got things going in the bottom of the fourth.

Marlee Morales singled to begin the inning and Brittany Bruns walked. An RBI single by Halley Ingram gave the Grizzlies their first run, with an RBI single by Hinton cutting the deficit to 4-2.

The Sand Sharks added a run in the top of the fifth on a solo home run, but GGC (16-26) was back at it in the bottom half of the inning.

Jordyn Fones singled and Heather Kilar walked. A walk to Bruns loaded the bases with two runs scoring when USC-Beaufort shortstop C.J. Browder fumbled a grounder, bringing the deficit to 5-4.

That would be all the Grizzlies scored as a fly out to center ended the inning.

From there, GGC was unable to get anything going in the final two innings.

"We've battled adversity this week playing three top-10 teams in the nation," Ihlenburg said. "We're showing that we're not going to lay down for anyone."

Although the doubleheader didn't turn out the way Ihlenburgh had hoped, she said there's a lot to look forward to in GGC's future.

"We wanted this for a long time," she said. "It's nice to be home finally. (When they gave us the green light) it was almost like opening a present on Christmas morning."

Ihlenburg said it's nice to have everything on campus, instead of having to travel, adding the field is only part of the overall makeup of the program.

"This shows what we're trying to build here," she said. "We've had great support from everyone involved and we're lucky to have this facility."