The second-ranked Georgia Gwinnett women’s tennis team went on the road to defeat NAIA No. 6 Brenau University on Friday afternoon in Gainesville by a 7-2 score.
The Grizzlies improved to 8-1 by defeating a Golden Tigers squad that boasts three returning NAIA All-Americans. Brenau dropped to 7-3.
Georgia Gwinnett captured two of the three doubles matches early on, then reeled off five singles wins in straight sets.
The match of the day featured GGC’s Valeria Podda remaining unbeaten at No. 1 singles by knocking off USTA/ITA Nationals finalist and first-team All-American Dominika Jasova, 6-3, 7-5.
“(Assistant) Coach (Lauren) Meier and I were very impressed with our team today,” said Grizzlies head coach Chase Hodges. “A 7-2 win against the No. 6 team in the nation on the road is impressive. Our depth proved to be our biggest strength today.”
Podda teamed with Helena Korompis for an 8-5 win at first doubles while it was an 8-0 win for GGC’s Paloma Cortina and Chiara di Salvo at third doubles.
In singles play, Podda was backed up by wins on the third (Judith van Fraaijenhoven), fourth (di Salvo), fifth (Luma Schwab) and sixth (Korompis) lines.
Georgia Gwinnett returns to action quickly with an 11 a.m. home match against Division III Kenyon (Ohio) on Saturday in Lawrenceville.
The Georgia Gwinnett baseball team used runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to complete a comeback win over St. Francis (Ind.), 5-4, winning its 13th-straight game on Zach Alvord’s walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth.
The Grizzlies extended their program-best winning streak and improved to 19-3 overall on the year, dropping the Cougars to 1-10.
Alvord and Robbie Payne led GGC with two hits apiece on the night.
Starter Alex Roberts struck out seven batters in 6.2 innings of work but did not factor in the decision as reliever Austin Smith (3-1) earned the victory.
The Cougars used a pair of first-inning doubles to take an early 1-0 lead, but GGC answered with two scores in the bottom of the inning. Payne drilled an RBI triple and the Grizzlies capitalized on a fielding error to take a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars used a two-out, two-run single to return to the lead in the third inning, 3-2.
Neither team scored again until the seventh with an RBI triple by St. Francis’ David Yoder that made it 4-2. Yoder led all players with three hits on the night.
The Grizzlies answered with a score of their own in the seventh as Antonio Allen reached on a fielder’s choice and came around to make it a 4-3 game.
In the eighth, the Grizzlies put runners on the corners with nobody out and Ty Abbott drove in pinch runner Garitt Church to tie the game on a fielder’s choice.
Reliever Andy Threatt tossed two scoreless innings and Smith recorded the final out in St. Francis’ half of the ninth to set up the victory.
In the bottom of the ninth, Phillip Bates drew a two-out walk and stole second base, then came home to win the game on Alvord’s double down the left field line.
The teams continue the series Saturday night with a 7 p.m. start in Lawrenceville.
The Georgia Gwinnett softball team split a pair of games with Columbia (S.C.) on Friday afternoon, winning 3-0 and falling 11-9, to begin a six-game homestand in Lawrenceville.
Sophomore Ashley Beyke (4-2) tossed her first complete game shutout to earn the win in the opener before GGC fell in a back-and-forth game two in extra innings.
The split left GGC at 8-3 on the year and Columbia at 11-5.
Game One- GGC 3, Columbia 0
Beyke took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, holding Columbia to just two hits as GGC won its second straight game by shutout. The sophomore struck out a season-high eight batters.
The Grizzlies capitalized on a two-out error in the third inning to plate the game’s first run when Brittany Bruns singled, stole a pair of bases, and Jordyn Fones’ pop-up eluded Columbia’s second baseman.
The Grizzlies added to their lead in the fifth inning with a two-out triple from Jordyn Fones to the gap in left-center that brought home pinch runner Carrie Ann Bullard and Cassidy Littlefield, who had singled.
Beyke never let the Fighting Koalas get anything going, recording her fourth complete game of the year in maintaining the shutout.
Georgia Gwinnett needed just five hits on offense, with two coming from Fones.
Game Two- Columbia 11, GGC 9 (8 Innings)
Columbia shortstop Ashley Cox hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to give the Koalas the 11-9 extra-inning victory in the second game.
The teams combined for 23 hits in the contest as five different Grizzlies had a multi-hit game, led by Heather Kilar’s 3-for-4 effort.
The Koalas scored three in the top of the first inning with four hits, but GGC struck back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. A two-out triple from Haley Thompson tied the game and Kilar followed with a double to score Thompson as GGC went ahead, 4-3.
Two unearned runs added to GGC’s lead in the second inning. Ashleigh Simmons put a ball in play with two outs and a pair of Grizzlies came home to score on a Columbia fielding error.
Halley Ingram drove a ball down the left field line with two aboard in the third inning to bring home another run for a 7-3 GGC lead.
Columbia struck back with four runs in the top of the fourth, but GGC answered once again with a bases-loaded single from Kilar in the bottom of the fourth that brought around two runners with the help of a Koalas throwing error as GGC pushed back ahead, 9-7.
One more time, Columbia answered with two scores in the fifth inning to tie the game. An inning-ending grab by Cassidy Littlefield in foul territory with the bases loaded kept the game knotted for the moment.
Neither team could tally the go-ahead score in the sixth or seventh innings, and GGC went into its third extra-inning affair in under a week.
With a runner at second base for Columbia in the top of the eighth, Cox hit the game-winning homer past the left field foul pole. The Grizzlies could not put together another rally in their half of the eighth and fell by the final 11-9 score.
The Grizzlies are now 2-1 in extra-inning games on the season. GGC returns to action Sunday with a 1 p.m. home doubleheader versus Virginia Intermont.
(Photo: Women’s Tennis freshman Judith van Fraaijenhoven; courtesy Rod Reilly/GGC)