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LAWRENCEVILLE – The Georgia Gwinnett College softball team moved another step closer to winning the 2019 Association of Independent Institutions Softball Championships with an 8-1 victory against Edward Waters College (Fla.) on Friday afternoon in a tournament being played at the Grizzly Softball Complex.

GGC and Edward Waters will meet again Saturday at 9 a.m. in the championship round. The game time was moved up in the day because of inclement weather in the forecast.

The top-seeded Grizzlies (38-14) scored in five of their six offensive innings through 13 hits to earn the second straight victory of the tournament.

Senior Elyssa Melton connected on a two-run home run in the first inning as the hosts jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. The team would add two more runs in the second inning while scoring single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Juniors RaeQuinn Rossetti and Taylor Takushi each had three hits to lead the team’s offensive attack.

Meanwhile, senior pitcher Taylor Hansis picked up her 21th victory on the season as she struck out two batters across three innings in the starting assignment. Freshman Alexa Good did not allow a hit over four innings and recorded five strikeouts in relief.

The victory means GGC has earned one of the A.I.I.’s two automatic bids to the Opening Round of the NAIA Softball Championships. Edward Waters, the No. 3 seed, came back to defeat No. 2-seeded Crowley’s Ridge College (Ark.) 8-5 in nine innings in an elimination game Friday evening.

“Our pitchers threw another commanding game," GGC head coach Kat Ihlenburg said. "It is good to see that they can command the strike zone. Elyssa and Sydney (Willhite) hit the ball hard and it was good to see that type of production from them.”