LAWRENCEVILLE – Senior Brody Wofford sent the first pitch in the top of the ninth inning over the right field fence to cap a late-inning rally that sent the Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team to the NAIA World Series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday afternoon against Georgetown College (Ky.).
GGC (46-11) trailed 1-0 after seven innings before scoring a single run in the eighth and ninth innings to capture the Lawrenceville Bracket of the NAIA Opening Round at the Grizzly Baseball Complex.
“I figured I would be more aggressive early in the count," Wofford said. "I hit a double off the wall in right (field) on a breaking ball earlier in the game. I thought that they were going to throw me a fastball. He left it over the plate and I hit the mistake.”
The top-seeded Grizzlies will be making their third appearance to the World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, including back-to-back trips.
“That was a fun game," GGC head coach Brad Stromdahl said. "I am so happy for our players, coaches and program that we battled through. We earned a victory today against a really good Georgetown team. We got some tremendous pitching performances today and their starting pitcher was fantastic."
Georgetown (45-15) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single from Nick Giambalvo. The No. 2-seeded Tigers would leave the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
That’s when GGC started its comeback.
Senior Brandon Frazier drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game, 1-1, with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Then, the tournament hosts took its first lead of the game one inning later on Wofford’s team-leading 10th homer of the season.
Senior reliever Matthew Swain retired all three batters in the ninth inning to secure the victory and World Series berth. The right-hander struck out three batters in 2 1/3 innings to pick up the victory. Senior starting pitcher Gregory Loukinen had eight strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings for the Grizzlies.
The game was vastly different from the contest played nearly 24 hours earlier between the two teams – a 12-2 GGC victory that moved the Grizzlies into the championship round.
“We are a team that fights until the end,” said Wofford. “We have a mentality that we were going to make this (tournament) a three-game series. For one game, you’re going to definitely win, another game is going to be there to win, and the last game is going to be up for grabs. This was a close, tight game that we were able to win.”
The 2019 NAIA World Series begins on May 24 in Lewiston, Idaho. GGC’s 2018 team reached the semifinal round of the 10-team double-elimination tournament.