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LAWRENCEVILLE – Six runs in the first inning and a complete-game pitching performance propelled the top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team to a 15-0 win Saturday against No. 4 seed Crowley’s Ridge College (Ark.) in the opening game of the 2021 Association of Independent Institutions championship tournament at the Grizzly Baseball Complex.

The Grizzlies (40-9) advanced to face No. 2 seed Fisher College (Mass.) in a winner’s bracket contest on Sunday, May 9, at 11 a.m. Fisher defeated No. 3 seed Xavier University (La.) 11-7 in Saturday’s other first-round contest. The winner of that contest moves to the championship round on Monday, May 10, and clinches an automatic bid to the NAIA national tournament.

Junior Gabe Howell drove in four runs and freshman Chase Evans cleared the bases with a double during the big opening inning. Evans finished with four RBI in the victory.

Meanwhile, senior right hander Hunter Dollander struck out 13 batters to pick up his 10th win of the season with the shutout.

GGC took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run single from Howell. A few batters later, Evans delivered a three-run double to stretch the advantage to 6-0.

The tournament hosts added two runs in the second inning with a run-scoring double from junior Nick Barnes being the big hit of the frame. Two more runs came across in the fourth inning before the Grizzlies tallied five runs in the seventh inning.

Howell added a two-run double in the seventh inning and later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Barnes.

The Grizzlies tallied 15 hits in the contest, led by Howell’s 3-for-5 performance. Those hits produced four RBI and he scored two runs. Five other GGC players recorded multiple-hit efforts to round a balanced offensive attack.

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