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Host Georgia Gwinnett College eliminated from conference softball tourney

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Georgia Gwinnett College softball team mustered just two hits offensively and suffered a 10-1 loss in Friday’s elimination game against NAIA No. 19 Houston-Victoria on day two of the 2014 Association of Independent Institutions Softball championship tournament in Lawrenceville.

The fourth-seeded Grizzlies wrap up their season in all likelihood with a 39-10-1 overall record, besting their inaugural 2013 season by 21 wins.

“It’s not the way we wanted to finish this season,” said Grizzlies head coach Kat Ihlenburg. “But it’s these seniors who got us here. Actions speak louder than words and these seniors will be heard from for a long time.”

Cassidy Littlefield produced the lone RBI in the game for GGC, which committed four errors defensively and fell into a deep first-inning hole.

In other action Friday, second-seeded Cal State San Marcos eliminated fifth-seeded Lindenwood-Belleville, 6-1, in the first game of the day. The highlight of the day came in the nightcap, when Cal State San Marcos edged third-seeded Houston-Victoria, 8-7, in a wild 13-inning affair.

Trailing 5-3 in the sixth, UHV tallied two late runs to send the game to extra innings. Neither team produced a go-ahead score until the 13th inning, when Marlee Moehrig’s two-run home run to right field made it 7-5, UHV. The Cougars then loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the inning and a three-run double by Alex Miller brought in the winning scores for the walk-off win.

In winners’ bracket action, top-seeded LSU Alexandria scored a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally past sixth-seeded British Columbia, 3-2, to advance to Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. championship game.

British Columbia will face Cal State San Marcos at 10 a.m. Saturday for the right to advance to the title game.

The Grizzlies fell in an early 8-0 hole and could not climb out of it against UHV starter Savannah Crittenden (12-2) and the defending A.I.I. champion Jaguars.

Ashley Beyke tossed 5.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts in relief of Kayla Byrom (19-3).

Heaven Hinton and Heather Kilar had GGC’s only hits as the Grizzlies returned to the diamond quickly following Thursday night’s late 14-13 extra-inning loss to No. 3 LSU Alexandria.

Third-seeded Houston-Victoria used six hits in the first inning to build its 8-0 lead.

Beyke settled in with her relief effort and neither team scored until the fourth, when UHV added to its lead with one run in the fourth inning and then another in the fifth.

Infielder Shelby Smith led all players with three RBIs while outfielder Rachel Laird scored three times for the Jaguars.

The Grizzlies loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, but a pair of strikeouts and a popup kept GGC off the board.

Littlefield scored Kilar on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly to push across the Grizzlies’ lone run of the game. A diving stop and flip on the first base side with two outs in the seventh ended the GGC threat and the game.

The Grizzlies finished 18-8 on their home field this season as the loss was just the second time that GGC was shut out all year in 50 games.

The final two teams in the tournament Saturday will earn the A.I.I.’s two automatic berths to the NAIA national tournament.