GGC softball splits home doubleheader

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Georgia Gwinnett softball team split a pair of games with Columbia (S.C.) on Friday afternoon, winning 3-0 and falling 11-9, to begin a six-game homestand in Lawrenceville.

Sophomore Ashley Beyke (4-2) tossed her first complete game shutout to earn the win in the opener before GGC fell in a back-and-forth game two in extra innings.

The split left GGC at 8-3 on the year and Columbia at 11-5.

Beyke took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of the opener, holding Columbia to just two hits as GGC won its second straight game by shutout. The sophomore struck out a season-high eight batters.

The Grizzlies capitalized on a two-out error in the third inning to plate the game’s first run when Brittany Bruns singled, stole a pair of bases, and Jordyn Fones’ pop-up eluded Columbia’s second baseman.

The Grizzlies added to their lead in the fifth inning with a two-out triple from Jordyn Fones to the gap in left-center that brought home pinch runner Carrie Ann Bullard and Cassidy Littlefield, who had singled.

Beyke never let the Fighting Koalas get anything going, recording her fourth complete game of the year in maintaining the shutout.

Georgia Gwinnett needed just five hits on offense, with two coming from Fones.

In an eight-inning, Game 2, Columbia shortstop Ashley Cox hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to give the Koalas the 11-9 extra-inning victory in the second game.

The teams combined for 23 hits in the contest as five different Grizzlies had a multi-hit game, led by Heather Kilar’s 3-for-4 effort.

The Koalas scored three in the top of the first inning with four hits, but GGC struck back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. A two-out triple from Haley Thompson tied the game and Kilar followed with a double to score Thompson as GGC went ahead, 4-3.

Two unearned runs added to GGC’s lead in the second inning. Ashleigh Simmons put a ball in play with two outs and a pair of Grizzlies came home to score on a Columbia fielding error.

Halley Ingram drove a ball down the left field line with two aboard in the third inning to bring home another run for a 7-3 GGC lead.

Columbia struck back with four runs in the top of the fourth, but GGC answered once again with a bases-loaded single from Kilar in the bottom of the fourth that brought around two runners with the help of a Koalas throwing error as GGC pushed back ahead, 9-7.

One more time, Columbia answered with two scores in the fifth inning to tie the game. An inning-ending grab by Cassidy Littlefield in foul territory with the bases loaded kept the game knotted for the moment.

Neither team could tally the go-ahead score in the sixth or seventh innings, and GGC went into its third extra-inning affair in under a week.

With a runner at second base for Columbia in the top of the eighth, Cox hit the game-winning homer past the left field foul pole. The Grizzlies could not put together another rally in their half of the eighth and fell by the final 11-9 score.

The Grizzlies are now 2-1 in extra-inning games on the season. GGC returns to action Sunday with a 1 p.m. home doubleheader vs. Virginia Intermont.