LAWRENCEVILLE – The No. 5-ranked Georgia Gwinnett College softball team rallied with four runs in the sixth inning of Friday’s second game to earn a split in the first day of the season-opening Grizzly Open at the Grizzly Softball Complex.
Both games were decided by one-run margins, with the Grizzlies dropping a 3-2 contest to the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) in the opener. GGC (1-1) earned a 5-4 victory against the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) in the nightcap.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning against Cumberlands, the tournament hosts got base hits from juniors Holly Janco and Ruth Jones to load the bases. A ground out by senior Taylor Takushi trimmed the deficit to 3-2. Then, senior RaeQuinn Rossetti delivered a two-run single to score Janco and Jones, giving GGC the 4-3 lead – marking its first lead of the opening day of the season.
Freshman Kendall Baer followed with a RBI single to extend the lead to 5-3 and cap the four-run sixth inning.
Cumberlands (0-2) got the game-tying run into scoring position, but GGC’s freshman pitcher Gracie Hogg sealed the victory by inducing a fly out to right field. The right hander struck out four batters in the complete-game performance.
Earlier, Cumberlands took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning on a two-run home run from Madison Huber.
In Georgia Gwinnett College’s tournament opener, Rio Grande broke a 2-2 deadlock with a RBI double from Lexi Philen for the one-run victory. The Red Storm (1-1) scored two runs in the first inning, only to see the Grizzlies chip away. Sophomore Lea McFadden connected on a run-scoring single in the bottom of the first. Then, senior Anya Vandersip executed a squeeze bunt in the fourth inning to tie the contest at 2-2.
“We found our energy in the dugout (in the sixth inning of the second game)," GGC head coach Kat Ihlenburg said. "Each team has a different way of performing with their energy, but this team found it. They were loud and rooting for each other. Then, the hits happened, but it was the process that created that rally.”