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Aubree Cox

LAWRENCEVILLE — The Georgia Gwinnett College softball team is one win away from a return trip to the NAIA World Series after defeating LSU Alexandria 8-6 on Tuesday afternoon in the Lawrenceville Bracket of the NAIA Opening Round at the Grizzly Softball Complex.

The Grizzlies (41-14), the tournament's top seed, will play in the championship round against No. 4-seed University of Rio Grande (Ohio) at noon Wednesday. Another game may be necessary at 2:30 p.m. to determine the winner of the double-elimination tournament.

GGC scored in its first three offensive innings, including four runs in the third frame, to grab an early 7-1 lead Tuesday.

"We showed the composure and experience that we have as a team," head coach Kat Ihlenburg said. "We had a lot of quality at-bats and moved runners over. Then we got big hits and sacrifice flies when we needed them. It is those little things that win at this time of the year. Holly (Janco) and Aubree (Cox) have been big contributors for us at this stage in their careers."

The No. 3-seeded LSU Alexandria (34-15) made things interesting during the middle innings. Lauren Rachal's two-run double opened the door for the Generals to score four runs in the top of the fifth inning, trimming the deficit to 7-5.

GGC answered with a run-scoring single from junior RaeQuinn Rossetti in the bottom of the fifth inning. Her second hit of the game provided an important insurance run.

Sophomore Piper Wagner tossed two scoreless innings in relief to register the save after senior Taylor Hansis scattered five hits across the first five innings to pick up her 24th victory of the season.

Sophomore Holly Janco scored three runs and collected two hits to spark Georgia Gwinnett College's eight-hit offensive attack. Senior Aubree Cox added a pair of sacrifice fly outs as the bottom two positions in the team's batting order combined for two hits, three runs and two RBIs.