LEWISTON, Idaho – The Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team got off to a rousing start in the NAIA World Series on Friday.
A grand slam home run by senior Brody Wofford powered the No. 5-seeded Grizzlies to a 6-3 victory against Faulkner University (Ala.) in a first-round game Friday afternoon.
The victory is the first time the Grizzlies (47-11) have won a first-round game in three trips to the NAIA World Series. The team advances into winner’s bracket play on Monday, May 27, for a 6 p.m. game against the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 1-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan University and No. 8-seeded Indiana Tech.
Wofford smashed his team-leading 11th homer of the season over the center field wall to cap a two-out fifth-inning rally that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead.
“I knew, with a 3-ball, 2-strike count, that I was going to get a good pitch and I put a good swing on it,” the outfielder said of his home run effort. “I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
The No. 4-seeded Eagles (49-11) took their 1-0 advantage on a solo home run from Jacob Freeland in the fourth inning.
GGC junior starting pitcher Pedro Garcia struck out 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings to pick up his seventh victory of the season. The right-hander recorded two strikeouts in three of those innings.
Then, senior reliever Matthew Swain collected his second save of the season, tossing 1 1/3 innings. He got a strikeout to end the eighth inning when Faulkner brought the tying run to the plate. The Eagles threatened again with the potential game-tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, once again, Swain got out of the jam, this time producing a ground out to secure the victory.
Senior pinch hitter Onassis Matos added a key two-run single down the left field line to build GGC’s lead to 6-2 in the seventh inning.
The Grizzlies tallied 11 hits in the contest, led by senior Alex Garland with four hits. Junior Gabe Austin and sophomore Cam Coursey each added two hits for the victors.