Georgia Gwinnett Holds Off San Diego Christian (Calif.), 6-4
LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) No. 7 San Diego Christian (Calif.) scored four runs in the final four innings, but it proved not enough, as No. 6 Georgia Gwinnett held on for a 6-4 win over the Hawks in day two action at the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series on Saturday. The win is the first-ever for the Grizzlies at the World Series.
“This is a great feeling to win our first-ever World Series game,” said Georgia Gwinnett head coach Brad Stromdahl. “We gave the ball to Alex (Roberts) and he did what he’s done all season long. We were able to get him a lead and get the bats going.”
With the win, Georgia Gwinnett improves to 53-12 on the year and advances to play the loser of No. 9 Tabor (Kan.) and No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist at 9 a.m. PDT on Monday. San Diego Christian, which was making its first-ever appearance at the World Series, ends its season with a 42-20 record.
Junior outfielder Ty Abbott set the tone for Georgia Gwinnett in the second inning with a solo blast on a 1-0 count to lead off the inning. A pair of singles and an error pushed the Grizzlies lead to 2-0. One inning later, Georgia Gwinnett piled on four more when Zach Alvord, who came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, sent the first pitch of his at-bat into orbit to give the Grizzlies a 6-0 lead. The blast is the first grand slam at the World Series since 2012.
In total, Georgia Gwinnett scored its six runs on 10 hits, including multi-hit performances from Phillip Bates, Jake Fields and Alvord. Alvord also paced the team in RBIs with four.
Grizzlies starting pitcher Alex Roberts (9-2) scattered four hits and allowed four runs in 7.1 innings of work en route to his ninth victory of the season. The junior right-hander struck out six and walked none in the contest. Roberts’ strikeout total is the most for him since striking out 10 against LSU Alexandria (La.) on April 11.
San Diego Christian clawed its way back into the contest with a three-run sixth to cut the deficit to 6-3. Luke Bando set the table for the inning with a leadoff single, followed by a Cade Gotta double to put runners at second and third with no outs. The Hawks, who did not record another hit in the stanza, scored on a pair of ground outs and a wild pitch.
The Hawks added another run in the eighth to make it 6-4, when Gotta scored on a Chad Erickson single to left. Gotta reached previously on his second double of the game – 16th of the year.
Despite gaining much of the momentum, San Diego Christian failed to threaten again as Georgia Gwinnett closer Zeke McGranahan shut the door en route to his seventh save of the season.
Joey Aquino took the loss for San Diego Christian and falls to 6-3 on the year.
The meeting was the first-ever for the two programs
“Now we look forward to about 36 hours of rest with some down time before we get back after it on Monday,” said Stromdahl. “This is what these guys have done to make it here to Lewiston and we have a lot of confidence in this group to keep it going.”
The Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho). For more information on the 58th annual championship, click here.