LAWRENCEVILLE – Senior Alex Garland connected on a two-run homer and junior Pedro Garcia had a strong pitching performance as the top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team earned a 5-2 victory against Union College (Ky.) to cap Monday’s first day of the NAIA Opening Round’s Lawrenceville Bracket at the Grizzly Baseball Complex.
GGC (44-11) advances to play No. 2-seeded Georgetown College (Ky.) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The Tigers defeated No. 3-seeded IU Southeast 6-1 in another first-round contest.
Garland’s round tripper came in the fifth inning and gave the tournament hosts a 2-0 lead.
The Grizzlies added three key insurance runs in the seventh inning to build a 5-0 advantage. Bases-loaded walks to senior C.J. Ballard and sophomore Nick Barnes scored two of the runs, while a hit by pitch to senior Brandon Frazier pushed across another tally.
That’s all Garcia needed as he recorded 11 strikeouts and scattered seven hits across 8 1/3 innings to improve to 6-1 on the season. Freshman Alec Kliphouse recorded the final two outs as Union brought the potential game-tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.
“I thought Pedro did an unbelievable job," GGC head coach Brad Stromdahl said. "You’ve got to win on the mound in these tournaments and Pedro did exactly what he’s supposed to do. We had a big hit by Alex to break the game open. I’m glad we got the win against a really good Union team.”
Both teams tallied seven hits with senior Brenton Burgess and sophomore Cam Coursey each collected two hits for the Grizzlies.