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GGC baseball dominates in home debut

Photo: GGC Gwinnett Georgia College opened it's new baseball facility with a pair of home wins on Saturday in Lawrenceville.

Photo: GGC Gwinnett Georgia College opened it's new baseball facility with a pair of home wins on Saturday in Lawrenceville.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Georgia Gwinnett College finally played its first home games after a month on the road, defeating Rochester College (Mich.) in both games of a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Grizzlies (11-6) came into the series struggling, losing five of their last six, but showed they weren't going to be denied at the new Grizzly Baseball Complex.

"It's a wonderful feeling playing at home," head coach Brad Stromadahl said. "After 15 games on the road, it's nice to be able to showcase this stadium that's been given to us."

The Grizzlies controlled the opener thanks in part to Sheldon Connor's complete-game performance. Giving up seven hits and two runs (one earned), Connor (3-0) and the Grizzlies won 6-2.

For the former Wesleyan star, the victory was sweet.

"It's an awesome feeling, playing on this field," he said. "I was nervous the first inning with my friends and family here.

"Overall, it was just nice to be at home because we were getting tired being on the road."

Pat Long led the way at the plate, with one hit and three RBIs, while Christian Van Camp and Antonio Allen were each 2-for-3 with one RBI. Allen also scored two runs.

Jereid Woods had two walks and two runs scored, while Robbie Payne contributed an RBI single.

Tommy Moore (0-2) took the loss for the Warriors, throwing 4 innings, giving up eight hits and six earned runs.

Ryan Rosati was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Eric Ramirez and Chaz Hill each had an RBI.

In the second game, the Grizzlies ensured there would be no doubt in the outcome, scoring six runs in the first inning, en route to the 13-3 victory in six innings.

After starter Austin Smith struggled early, giving up three runs, Angelo Lombardo came in and shut the door, pitching 4 innings, giving up one hit and three walks the rest of the way.

"Angelo really came in and shut the door on them," Stromadahl said. "You can't ask for much more out of a reliever."

Robbie Payne led the way at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. A.J. Davis went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Pat Long and Eli Gree also added two RBIs in the win.

"It was nice to see Robbie get things going," Stromadahl said. "He's had his struggles lately and really made good contact with the ball."

For Georgia Gwinnett athletic director Dr. Darin Wilson, the doubleheader was exactly what he had been hoping for.

"It was exciting with a great crowd," he said. "The atmosphere is great and we have a lot of other great things to come."

Wilson said he doesn't deserve the credit for getting things going at the school.

"It all starts with hiring good people," Wilson said. "Having good coaches, personnel and volunteers are key. No one person can do this."

Georgia Gwinnett now takes to the road one more time with a game at Southern Tech on Monday. After that, 21 of the next 24 games will be at home.