ATHENS, Tenn. – The No. 5-ranked Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team made an early-season statement with a 7-6 victory at top-ranked and defending champion Tennessee Wesleyan University on Wednesday afternoon.
The Grizzlies (9-2) have won eight straight games.
The visitors never trailed Wednesday after scoring four runs in the second inning. Senior Kyle Harvey hit a two-run single to left field to give GGC a 3-0 advantage. Tennessee Wesleyan’s (6-2) second defensive error of the inning allowed the fourth run cross home plate.
The Bulldogs didn’t waste much time in making a comeback. The deficit was cut in half, 4-2, behind a two-run home run from Jhosmel Rodriguez in the second inning.
But GGC responded with senior Gabe Austin connecting on his third home run of the season to open the fifth inning. That extended the team’s lead to 5-2. Then, a wild throw on a failed pickoff attempt brought home two more runs in the seventh inning, giving the Grizzlies a 7-3 lead.
Showing more resolve, Tennessee Wesleyan scored three runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Chandler Kendall’s RBI single trimmed GGC’s lead to the one-run margin.
The hosts had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the eighth inning, but freshman reliever Alex Cook struck out Shamoy Christopher to end the threat. The right hander then retired all three batters he faced in the ninth frame to pick up his fourth save of the young season.
Junior starting pitcher Christopher Bergmoser scattered six hits across 5.2 innings for the Grizzlies to improve to 2-1 on the season. Junior reliever Rhian Mann tossed two innings before giving the ball to Cook for the final four outs.
The teams combined for 11 errors, with Tennessee Wesleyan committing six defensive miscues.
The Grizzlies were clinging to a one-run lead, 7-6, in the eighth inning when the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position. That’s when the visitors turned to freshman relief pitcher Alex Cook to secure the victory. The right hander proceeded to strike out Shamoy Christopher to end the inning. Cook then tossed a perfect ninth inning.
“It was a good back-and-forth battle and our players showed a lot of resolve,” GGC Coach Jeremy Sheetinger said. “There were plenty of opportunities for the team to come through and fortunately for us they did. We came on the road, against a top-5 opponent, and walked away with the win. However, we have to remember that this was only one win and its mid-February. Also, it wasn’t a great defensive game on either side. We still have lots of things to work on to improve.”
GGC improves to 9-2 on the season, while Tennessee Wesleyan falls to 6-2 this spring.Georgia Gwinnett College now leads the all-time series 7-6; GGC is 2-4 all-time in series games played in Athens, Tenn.
Georgia Gwinnett College is scheduled to host West Virginia Tech on Friday, Feb. 21, at 2 p.m. from the Grizzly Baseball Complex.