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Grizzlies, making waves on national level, add another win

The fifth-ranked Georgia Gwinnett baseball team came home with a 5-3 win over Cumberland on Tuesday afternoon in Lebanon, Tenn., using a pair of RBIs from Robbie Payne and two runs scored by Phillip Bates and Garitt Church.

Starting pitcher Sheldon Connor improved to a team-leading 7-0, yielding just four hits over five innings and allowing two runs. Tyler Carpenter and Alex Roberts each tossed two innings of relief, with Roberts’ scoreless effort securing his first save of the year.

The Grizzlies moved to 37-6 overall, sweeping the season series from the Bulldogs (26-16) following a Feb. 18 win in Lawrenceville.

Georgia Gwinnett remained No. 5 in Tuesday’s latest edition of the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, picking up its first-ever first-place vote in the process. Oklahoma Baptist (11 first-place votes), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (5), Faulkner (Ala.) (4) and Missouri Baptist remain in front of GGC.

The Grizzlies did not have an extra-base hit in Tuesday’s win, but capitalized on seven walks and three hit batsmen. Jereid Woods had a team-high two hits.

The Grizzlies recovered from an early 1-0 hole after a solo Bulldogs home run in the first inning.

The Grizzlies got on the board in the third inning, beginning with Jake Fields’ RBI single to score Bates. Pat Long later walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run for a 2-1 GGC lead.

Payne then had sacrifice flies in the fourth and sixth innings, then Ty Abbott’s RBI single made it 5-1.

The Bulldogs tallied one run in each of the sixth and seventh innings to close the gap, but a pair of strikeouts- including a game-ender with the tying run on base- helped Roberts nail down the save.

The Grizzlies continue a six-game road trip by starting a series at LSU Alexandria this Friday, where the two teams return to the field for the fourth and fifth time in a week. First pitch in Friday’s doubleheader is at 5 p.m., while the series concludes Saturday at 2 p.m.

Georgia Gwinnett has added another game at No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.) next week, where the teams will play Tuesday and Wednesday evening in Montgomery, Ala.