No. 3 Georgia Gwinnett caps weekend with walk-off HR to sweep CU

Apr. 3—LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Cumberland showed a lot of fight in game three, but No. 3 Georgia Gwinnett hit a walk-off home run to sweep the series with an 11-8 win last Saturday.

The Grizzlies picked up where they left off in game one pounding out 15 hits in a 15-5 run-rule win.

Georgia Gwinnett got it going quick as the first two batters reached and Ajay Szepkowski hit a two-run triple to right-center to score two. Cumberland starter Ethan Torres stranded him at third to keep it at 2-0 with two strikeouts and a groundout.

Joe squelch drew a walk to start the second and proceeded to steal second and third before scoring on a fielders' choice to push the lead to 3-0.

Cumberland got it going in the third. Brandon Boxer led off the inning with a double to left. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Tim Holyk single to left. Kuriya also walked to get on, but Grizzlies starter retired Dee Triplett and Preston Welchel for two outs. Riley Light delivered a three-run bomb to left field to give CU their first lead of the weekend at 4-3.

The lead was short-lived as the first batter of the next half inning, last season's NAIA Player of the Year, Szepkowski hit a solo shot to tie the game. Later in the inning, squelch hit a double to score Jackson Cobb for a 5-4 lead.

The Grizzlies would chase Torres in the fourth as they would plate four runs off Torres and Carter Rost in the inning to lead 9-4. Szepkowski singled home a run. Paul Winland beat out an infield single that scored another. Quelch hit a sac fly and Bryce Lester singled in the final run of the inning.

Georgia Gwinnett added two more runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth highlighted by a two-run home run from Blaze O'Saban.

The Phoenix got a run back in the seventh as Dee Triplett scored on a ground out from Light for the final score 15-5.

Tyler Clayton and Tyler Martin combined to throw all seven innings for Georgia Gwinnett. The pair combined to hold Cumberland to six hits and struck out 15 Phoenix.

Justin Boggs received the start on the hill in game two. Boggs retired the side in order in the first, but to lead off the second Winland hit a double down the right field line. He moved to third on a ln error from Boggs before scoring on a groundout from Cobb for a 1-0 GGC lead through two.

Boggs issued a walk and a single to start the third to end his outing. Reliever Alex Smith checked in, but both of those runners would come in to score. The first run came across on a wild pitch and the second on a bases loaded walk to expand the lead to 3-0.

The Grizzlies catcher Cohen Wilbanks drew a free pass. Courtesy runner Peyton Peoples stole second and then third. On the steal to third, Alonzo Zuniga's throw was a little up the line. Toshi Kuriya knocked it down, but there was no slowing down from Peoples. He proceeded to score at the plate and push the lead to 4-0.

The Phoenix strung some hits together in the fifth. Boxer hit a one-out single up the middle and Javy Beal followed with a double down the left field line to score Boxer from first. Holyk followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Dee Triplett hit a ground ball to second to bring in Beal, but Holyk was called for interference to take a run off the board and turn it into an inning ending double play.

Winland hit a solo home run in the bottom half of the fifth to push the lead back out to 5-1.

The Phoenix proceeded to have a big sixth inning hanging five runs and to take the lead. Light and Preston Welchel led off the inning with back-to-back singles to chase starter Kaleb Hill. Kuriya moved both the runners with a sacrifice bunt to set up an RBI single from Zuniga. Krump followed with a walk to draw another pitching change with the bases loaded. New pitcher Chandler Wood hit Boxer with a pitch to plate a run. Holyk delivered a two-RBI single up the middle for the 6-5 lead.

Cumberland added another run in the seventh. Kuriya led off the inning with a double and Zuniga followed with a single to put runners on the corners. The Phoenix executed a suicide squeeze with Boxer at the plate to push Cumberland's lead to 7-5.

Bracken Rice was throwing his second inning of work in the bottom of the seventh. O'Saben drew a walk to lead off the inning. Szepkowski hit a single up the middle to put runners on the corners and Winland followed with a triple to score both runners and tie the game. Winland then scored on a balk to retake the lead at 8-7.

Down a run in the ninth, Welchel led off the inning with an infield single. He was replaced by Ty Martin. With Kuriya squared to bunt, catcher Wilbanks tried to pick off Martin at first, but the throw sailed into right allowing Martin to come around to third with no outs. The Grizzlies struck out Kuriya, but Zuniga hit a single into left for his third hit of the game to tie it at 8-8.

JP Kenyon was on the mound to start the ninth. He picked up a strikeout to start the inning, but Caden Smith roped a single up the middle to put the go-ahead run on base. Lesher then followed that with a walk to force a move to the pen with two runners on. The first pitch reliever Thomas Wilhite threw, Grizzlies DH Henry Daniels hit a three-run walk-off homer to end the game.

The Phoenix were to be back in action yesterday in Pulaski against Tennessee Southern. They will resume Mid-South Conference action this weekend when Freed-Hardeman visits Woody Hunt Stadium/Ernest L. Stockton Field for a three-game series — a single contest at 2 p.m. Friday and a noon doubleheader Saturday.

Phoenix fall 16-4 in Friday opener

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — No. 3 Georgia Gwinnett swung their way to a 16-4 win over Cumberland last Friday to open up the weekend series.

Cumberland (17-14) was held to just three hits against the Grizzlies. Javy Beal belted a solo shot for Cumberland while CU added three runs in the seventh before the run rule was in effect.

The Grizzlies sent nine batters to plate in the first as the game started with a bang. Blaze O'Saban hit a triple followed by a double from Braxton Meguiar. Jackson Cobb plated Meguiar with a sacrifice fly and Bryce Lesher singled in two more for a 4-0 lead.

In the third, Georgia Gwinnett added four more runs. Caden Smith doubled home Cobb to start it. With two on, Lesher again hit a single to left. Cumberland had the run hung up to dry going to the plate, but the throw hit him in the back of the helmet and shot away allowing two runs to score. Lesher would later score to make it an 8-0 lead.

The Phoenix got their first run of the game on a Javy Beal solo home run off the scoreboard in right center. The Grizzlies matched it by manufacturing a run in the bottom half.

Georgia Gwinnett went on to score seven runs on five hits in the sixth. Cumberland got three back in the seventh, two on an Ian Krump double down the line.