WALESKA — Despite 19 total hits and a pair of furious rallies, the Georgia Gwinnett College softball team dropped tight, 6-5 and 7-6 decisions on Wednesday at Reinhardt University, the NAIA’s 13th-ranked squad.
The Grizzlies (1-3) trailed each game by at least four runs, but tallied the final five scores in Game 1 and the last three of Game 2, coming just shy in each upset bid.
Georgia Gwinnett was playing its first road games after opening the inaugural year with a doubleheader split against Faulkner (Ala.) on Saturday. Reinhardt (2-0) made its first appearance of the year since being voted into the Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Grizzlies were paced offensively by junior Halley Ingram’s four hits in the leadoff spot, including a pair of triples. Junior Mary Ellen Pilitowski smacked the first home run in school history in the fifth inning of game one as GGC belted three extra-base hits in each game.
“We really showed resilience in not giving up tonight,” said Grizzlies head coach Kat Ihlenburg. “We came back in both games and just needed to find a way to push across those final scores.
“We showed that we can hang with some of the top teams in the country,” Ihlenburg added. “By competing with these teams it’s only going to improve our program. It’s a positive outcome, we just wish it was a win.”
Game One- Reinhardt 6, GGC 5
After spotting the Eagles a six-run lead, the Grizzlies were ignited by Pilitowski’s solo shot to left field in the fifth. An inning later, five straight two-out hits pushed across four Grizzly runs. Pilitowski, Ingram and Ashleigh Simmons each had two hits in the game, but GGC could not produce the tying score in the final inning.
Freshman pitcher Ashley Beyke allowed just one earned run in a complete game effort, part of 9.2 innings pitched over the two games by the Franklin, Tenn., native.
Game Two- Reinhardt 7, GGC 6
The Grizzlies continued scoring early in game two, taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning after Simmons tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
Reinhardt would answer however, aided by a pair of home runs by that pushed the Eagles in front after three innings, 7-3.
Georgia Gwinnett once again rallied, this time in the top of the final inning. A triple from Ingram and a double by Brittany Bruns started the inning, then RBIs from Heather Kilar and Pilitowski brought GGC within one. The Grizzlies would load the bases after a two-out walk, but a strikeout ended the comeback effort one run shy.
The Grizzlies return home this weekend, hosting a doubleheader against Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Saturday. Action begins at noon at the Collins Hill High School softball complex.