LAWRENCEVILLE – Scoring three runs over the final two innings, the top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett College softball team defeated the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) 4-1 Monday on the first day of the NAIA Opening Round’s Lawrenceville Bracket at the Grizzly Softball Complex.
The Grizzlies (40-14) advance to face No. 3-seed LSU-Alexandria in a winner’s bracket game Tuesday, May 14, starting at noon. LSU-Alexandria defeated No. 2-seed Truett-McConnell University (Ga.) 1-0 in Monday’s other first-round game.
GGC tied its tournament opener, 1-1, in the fourth inning when junior pinch runner Anya Vandersip slid around a tag from Rio Grande’s catcher at home plate on a fielder’s choice following a batted ball by freshman Sydney Pelaez.
Two innings later, the tournament hosts took a 2-1 advantage when senior Tori Robinson scored on another fielder’s choice, this time from senior Elyssa Melton. A bases-loaded walk to junior RaeQuinn Rossetti gave the Grizzlies a 3-1 lead.
GGC would push across another run in the seventh inning.
Rio Grande (34-15), the tournament’s No. 4 seed, took an early 1-0 lead on a RBI base hit from Kelsey Conkey in the first inning.
Robinson led the Grizzlies’ six-hit offensive effort, with two hits, while also scoring two of the team’s four runs.
Senior pitcher Taylor Hansis picked up her fourth win in the circle during this year’s postseason. She had eight strikeouts in the complete-game victory.
“I really liked our competitiveness throughout the game. Despite falling behind early, we continued to battle and create opportunities. When we had a chance to tie the game, I told Anya (Vandersip) to be aggressive, because that one play could determine the game’s outcome. She did just that on the play. Meanwhile, Taylor (Hansis) had another commanding postseason pitching performance,” said Head Coach Kat Ihlenburg.
The Grizzlies had been trailing 1-0 since the first inning when junior pinch runner Anya Vandersip made it to third base with one out in the fourth inning. She then slid around a tag from Rio Grande’s catcher in a play at home plate on a fielder’s choice following a batted ball by freshman Sydney Pelaez. That tied the game 1-1. GGC took the lead in the top of the sixth inning, when the team scored two runs. Another run was added to the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning.
Bottom of First
Kelsey Conkey hit a RBI single to right field to give the Red Storm an early 1-0 lead
Top of Fourth
A fielder’s choice on batted ball by Sydney Pelaez allowed pinch running Anya Vandersip to score from third base and tie the game, 1-1
Top of Sixth
Tori Robinson scored from third base on another fielder’s choice following a batted ball by Elyssa Melton, giving the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead
RaeQuinn Rossetti drew a bases-loaded walk to score another run
Top of Seventh
Tori Robinson scored after a Rio Grande throwing error was made on GGC’s stolen base attempt
Inside The Numbers
· The Grizzlies outhit the Red Storm by a 6-to-5 margin
· Senior Taylor Hansis had eight strikeouts in the complete-game victory
· Senior Tori Robinson collected two hits and scored two runs of the team’s four runs
· Senior Crystal Busbee recorded four assists from third base
News & Notes
· GGC improves to 40-14 on the season; Rio Grande falls to 34-15
· Georgia Gwinnett College was the top seed in the double-elimination Lawrenceville Bracket; Rio Grande stood as the No. 4 seed
· The Grizzlies were ranked No. 8 in the final regular-season NAIA Top 25 poll
· GGC has won five consecutive victories
Georgia Gwinnett College plays No. 3-seed LSU-Alexandria in a winner’s bracket contest on Tuesday, May 14, at noon at the Grizzly Softball Complex. LSU-Alexandria defeated No. 2-seed Truett-McConnell University 1-0 on Monday.